European Business: Mr. Dittmann, you created skate-aid at the end of 2009. How do you manage to combine this commitment with your entrepreneurial activities?
Titus Dittmann: Since I carried out the change of generations at Titus GmbH with my son in 2010, I have focused completely on the principles of a social entrepreneurship, namely using entrepreneurial activities so resolve social issues. A perfect symbiosis for me that I can live through skate-aid.
European Business: Are there any qualities as an entrepreneur that have benefitted you in your foundation?
Titus Dittmann: Regardless of whether in business or in the non-profit sector: Entrepreneurial characteristics are always good and always important. And for me, an entrepreneur is above all someone who acts out of enthusiasm and whose heart quite clearly burns for something. At least that was and is the case with me and is of benefit also with skate-aid.
European Business: You have already been able to implement numerous projects internationally. Which one are you especially proud of?
Titus Dittmann: When I think about how we started in Afghanistan back then and what skate-aid literally got rolling all over the world in past years, it makes me happy. But then I remember more the happy faces of children who we strengthen with the power of skateboarding instead of individual projects. It is fantastic to see and experience how skateboarding has an effect in each of our projects.
“For me, an entrepreneur is above all someone who acts out of enthusiasm and whose heart quite clearly burns for something.”
European Business: The topic of fairness is being hotly discussed in the public sphere. Should society especially in this part of the world feel obliged to this topic?
Titus Dittmann: What is fairness, and who decides what is fair? Discussions in society are necessary and good. Change begins, however, with concrete actions and effects. I find it important for a system of values and norms to be developed individually and in a self-determined way and not imposed. Fairness in the sense of good social cooperation should develop from intrinsic motivation. That is stronger than half-heartedly listening to the same old moral appeals.
“Fairness in the sense of good social cooperation should develop from intrinsic motivation.”
European Business: Let’s look into the future: Can you imagine your foundation taking over responsibilities of the state in education and integration with the support of the economy?
Titus Dittmann: I see at least a lot of potential in line with social entrepreneurship in which companies and for instance also foundations can cooperate appropriately as partners in the interest of a good cause. In any case, companies will open themselves to a multitude of possibilities to take over and implement social responsibility.
Interview: Markus Büssecker
Photos Copyright: Maurice Ressel, Thomas Diekmann, Stefan Lehmann and Rieke Penninger
Focus on people
CV in numbers
Born: 1948 in Kirchen an der Sieg
Company: Titus Dittmann is considered the father of the German skateboard scene. At the end of the 1970s he opened Titus Rollsport, one of the first skateboard stores in Europe. He continued to operate in this branch until 2009, when he handed titus GmbH over to his son Julius.
Social engagement: In 2009 Titus Dittmann created the Titus Dittmann Foundation; skate-aid was established under this umbrella.
Foundation in focus
To make children and young people strong through the power of skateboarding; implementation of national and international projects Facts and figures
Structure: The skate-aid initiative is active under the umbrella of the Titus Dittmann Foundation, which encompasses two non-profit associations as well as skate-aid support GmbH.
Projects: The foundation is currently supporting over 30 projects in 17 countries
Awards: In 2010 skate-aid was awarded the Laureus Media prize. Dittmann was presented with the 2001 Entrepreneur of the Year and 2013 German Start-up awards
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