Zarah Bruhn

Social entrepreneur; Commissioner for Social Innovation at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF); Founder and Managing Director socialbee


Born in Nieuwegein, Netherlands in 1991, Zara Bruhn founded socialbee in 2016, a Munich-based charitable organisation that aims to integrate refugees into the job market. She has been the company’s CEO since then.

In 2022 Bruhn was appointed Commissioner for Social Innovation at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). She has been a member of the supervisory board of the 4C Group since 2021.

Zara Bruhn joined the German Council for Sustainable Development in January 2023.

Three questions for Zarah Bruhn

Let’s get to it: What does sustainability mean to you? What do you associate with the term?

Zarah Bruhn: For me, sustainability is the transition to a world and a society where life is worth living for generations to come. A better future would see us achieve a positive balance between the environment, the economy and society as well as the social innovations that happen in this context. Alongside innovations in tech, social change is a way to shape a sustainable, inclusive and self-sufficient society. This was what drove me to found my own social enterprise, socialbee, where we help integrate refugees into the German labour market on a long-term basis. After all, so many sectors and companies are actively hunting for skilled workers – there is demand and there are advantages for all sides here.

What is your personal priority in your work as part of the Council for Sustainable Development?

As part of the RNE, my aim is to bring greater visibility to social innovators and to support them in realising their ideas. These are the people who shape the progress of our society, who wake up every day to tackle the challenges of our time and put their heart and soul into doing so. The RNE can also advise the German government on how to make full use of this great potential we have in our society. Smart social innovation policy will play a central role in building a better future.

In the context of sustainability, what do you believe will pose the greatest challenge in the coming years?

Sustainably transforming our economy into a system where environmental and social criteria set the standards along value chains. And transforming our society to be just, environmentally friendly, coherent and resilient. This is beneficial for all: for individuals, for society as a whole and for nature and the environment.

Curriculum vitae

Zarah Bruhn detailed CV available to download (PDF, 25 KB)


“Social innovators need greater visibility and support to realise their ideas. These are the people who shape the progress of our society and tackle the challenges of our time.”

Press photos

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Photo: Hans-Joachim Rickel

Photo: Hans-Joachim Rickel


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Photo: Andreas Weiss © RNE

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