About the Founder

Mariana Christen Jakob

CEO & Founder

Mariana has a background in social sciences from University of Zurich (UZH), an MBA from University of St. Gallen (HSG) and is currently enrolled at the Impact Investing Executive Education at Oxford University.

In 2010 she founded seif with the announcement of the Professional Program for Social Entrepreneurs and the first Award competition in Switzerland, supported by the Confederation’s innovation promotion agency, CTI, and the Gebert Rüf Foundation. She developed the Business Creation and Business Development Courses for Social Entrepreneurship as well as the concepts of the Corporate Programs, the seif Label and the Impact Investors Circle in strong collaboration with the team.

History of seif

The Social Entrepreneurship Initiative & Foundation (seif) was first established in 2010 by Prof. Mariana Christen Jakob as sole-trader and became a Foundation with the support of Dr. Barbara Rigassi and the Gebert Rüf Foundation, represented in the Advisory Board by Dr. Pascale Vonmont, in 2011. In that same year and alongside the Foundation, Prof. Mariana Christian Jacob created seif GmbH, thereby establishing a hybrid model for the company.

In this last seven years a lot has been achieved: courses that suit social entrepreneurs’ needs depending on their stage of development have been developed. seif’s Business Creation and Growth workshops, programs supporting companies looking for funding like the seif Label, and our mentoring schemes have contributed to the professionalising of the community in Switzerland; while the seif Awards for Social Entrepreneurship have strengthened social entrepreneurship, acting as a promotional platform for startups within and outside our boarders.

This success meant the establishment of seif as an important player in the social entrepreneurship community and the consolidation of seif as a company in its own right. Consequently, in 2015 the Foundation members decided to close seif’s Foundation and set up seif GmbH as an independent company.