New format of International Exposure Week proved to work

After one year break we managed to organise a new round of the Young Entrepreneur Exchange Project (YEEP). Compared to the former editions, the concept and the name were slightly changed: Instead of organising a classic Start-up week like the years before, YEEP was declared an “International Exposure Week” (IEW), where 7 Ethiopian student teams and 6 Swiss participants were working together on local business ideas. The change in the name might be small, nevertheless the approach of the new format was quite different:

  • Ethiopian student teams had already had their (local) start-up week 7 months earlier and were therefore more advanced on their way to realize their business ideas
  • The group of Swiss participants was more diverse and also more experience: Besides business students, we also had an engineer, entrepreneurs and people with very diverse working experience
  • Swiss participants had a more active role during the whole week and organised themselves input and coaching sessions about topics where they have a good expertise
  • There was no formal competition and teams could focus on specific topics rather than producing a complete business plan

From the Ethiopian side, the following teams participated in the week:

  • Groundnut husking machine
  • Amharic – English translator app
  • Video production and special effects
  • Automatic irrigation systems
  • Liquid detergents based on a local plant
  • Modernized local spinning device
  • Egg incubator for small and medium farms

During the week in Hawassa, all teams made considerable progress and we hope to see at least 3 teams create their own business after graduation in 2018 or 2019.

The internal evaluation of the event with all participants showed that the project is largely considered as successful: Besides bringing the local teams and their businesses one step closer to success, YEEP also is a great occasion for (intercultural) learning.
YEEP is not yet perfect, but there is a steady progress, especially concerning the support of our partners from Hawassa University towards their students. We hope that for next year, we can further improve some organizational aspects and that we soon can report on new successful start-up enterprises in Ethiopia! The next YEEP is foreseen to take place in February 2019.