YEEP became visible for the first time, when the website and the integrated platform for business idea generation went online. but before that, many other things had to be made ready:
On the Swiss side, we had the goal to select between 10 – 15 BFH students from those interested in taking part in elective YEEP BFH module commencing in February 2014. On the Ehtiopian side, efforts were made to ensure that sufficient HU students know of the project and are interested in participating in the Business Idea Generation phase of the project and the Business Idea Competition – which would give five to six winning HU students the opportunity to continue to the Start-up week and Business Plan Competition.
Students from the Hawassa team took on the task of developing the YEEP website and open innovation platform, the core element of the first phase of the project, namely the Business Idea Competition.
At the same time, we had to find donors and partners in order to find enough funds to cover the project’s costs. Luckily, we received a considerable support from Jansen PrimeSteps Foundation (www.primesteps.ch), which allowed us to start the project on time.
Three phases of YEEP
YEEP 1 was organised in three distinctive phases: During the Business Idea Generation students posted business ideas on a web platform (open innovation process). The best 25 ideas went into the Business Idea Competition and finally 7 of them were selected to go to the Business Plan Competition and to participate – together with Swiss students, in the YEEP start-up week in Hawassa.
Business Idea Generation
Ethiopian and Swiss students had the possibility to post a brief description of their idea on the YEEP website. Our intention was to foster a process of feedback and reflection, where the students could learn from different inputs and improve their idea or make it more clear.
All together, there were more than 70 ideas posted on the platform, many of them from Information and Communication Technologies, as this school was particularly active at Hawassa University. Some students were very active and also commented a lot on other ideas. At the end, 25 ideas were selected by a mixed Ethiopian-Swiss team.
Ideas that were selected to go to phase 2 (in alphabetical order of the business ideas owner):