• Wednesday, 09 December 2009 10:01
  • Last Updated Wednesday, 06 April 2011 19:26
  • Written by Administrator



1.    Content of the project

2.    Profile of the participants

3.    Date and time

4.    Money

5.    More information

6.    Various




Ich spreche kein Englisch. Kann ich trotzdem mitmachen?
Projektsprache in Englisch, was aber nicht bedeutet, dass man die Sprache pefekt sprechen und verstehen muss! Minimale Grundkenntnisse sind aber Voraussetzung daf√ľr, dass der angestrebte Dialog √ľberhaupt m√∂glich ist. Es wird durchaus begrenzte Aufgabenbereiche geben, die mal auch ohne Englisch-Kenntnisse √ľbernehmen kann. Eine Teilnahme an der Startveranstaltung in √Ąthiopien w√§re aber unter diesen Voraussetzungen nicht sinnvoll.


Je ne parle pas l’Anglais. Est-ce que je peux quand m√™me participer ?

L’anglais est la langue de projet. Or, √ßa ne veut pas dire qu’il faut parler ou comprendre parfaitement la langue. Des connaissances de base sont n√©anmoins n√©cessaires pour garantir le fonctionnement du dialogue recherch√©. Il y aura certainement des taches qui ne n√©cessiteront pas de connaissances de l’anglais. De l’autre c√īt√© une participation √† la visite de lancement en Ethiopie ne fait pas de sens sans des notions de base.

English :

1. Content of the project:

What are the next steps?
We will collect the names of all those who are really interested to join the project. After that, there will be a few exploration meetings or explanations by phone to become clearer on the idea of The Business Machine. After that, everybody should have the information necessary to decide if he/she can/wants to apply or not.
All applicants from Europe are selected by the Ethiopian team. And the group of Swiss applicants will select the partners from Ethiopia.
After that, preparation work for the meeting will start. Everybody will have to contribute with ideas, inputs and little workshops to a successful launching-week in Ethiopia.

I don’t understand, what is the exact content of the project.
That’s normal, because currently there is no content ;-) It is important that you understand the principle of joint project development, which is a fundamental of the whole idea.
If this is not enough for you: check out the project proposal, where you can find on page 7 some potential ideas, what a project might look like. Yet, it is quite probable that the team will develop very different approaches…

What will happen before the week in Ethiopia?
There will be a preparation by the team in Europe and Ethiopia. The week in Ethiopia will mainly be organised by the two teams.

What will happen exactly during the week in Ethiopia?
The program during this week will probably be very dense: first of all, everybody has to get to know each other. People from Europe will be in an unfamiliar environment and will have to get used to it. We will have to learn about each others backgrounds, cultures and expectations. And the biggest part will be to start a creative process, using different methods, to identify potential business ideas. And last but not least, some thinking about the potential of those ideas will have to be made… The whole week will be facilitated by the two initiators, but the content will to a big part depend on the contributions and the good preparation of all the participants. The exact content of the week will become clearer in the course of December.

2. Profile of the participants:

What could be my task in the project?
We think that everybody is an expert is certain fields, but it is of course difficult to say what your role will be before the project idea becomes clearer.
Yet, sometimes one has to jump into the water to know if it is cold or not ;-) If you are ready to get into the adventure and to participate actively in the meeting in Ethiopia, these are the only competences needed at the beginning.

Why don’t you ask experts to build the project?
At the current stage, The Business Machine is about creating ideas for projects. Maybe there will be a need for (technical) experts later on, but this will depend on the idea followed by the team.
And last but not least: if you look back into history, great projects have rarely been based on expertise but rather on convictions, courage and a little bit of craziness. Welcome to this adventure ;-)

Do you really think that even young people are mature enough to participate in such a difficult project?
Yes, we do think so. Experience is an important thing, but it is not the only input needed for success. Sometimes you need a blank canvas to draw a nice picture… Anyway, the group will take care of each other, so nobody will be left alone.

3. Date and time:

I want to join the project! When exactly will the visit in Ethiopia take place?
The exact date will be fixed together with the group of interested persons. January 2010 is a first best guess. The effective visit might also be a little bit later, according to the needs and possibilities of the participants.

What a pity, I don’t have time in January! What can I do?
The exact date of the launching visit in Ethiopia is not yet exactly defined. January is just an approximate first idea; the effective date might as well be in February or even in March. The decision about the date will be taken jointly in the group of interested people once it has become clear who might be part of this group.
Yet, even if you can’t be part of the visit in Ethiopia, you might want to stay in the project: There will be many tasks, for which no travelling is needed. And if the project proofs to be successful, there might be follow-up meetings later on.

Is it enough time to meet only during one week?
Of course it is not! It would be great to have several months to go into each and every detail ;-) But as many people don’t have much time, it is probably the most realistic duration. But effectively it is a compromise…
Yet, it’s important to understand that the visit by itself is not the main aim of the project, but only the starting point. So, given that we manage to develop a convincing business idea, work will only begin after the trip to Ethiopia.

4. Money:

I don’t have much money, can I nevertheless participate?
We are not mainly looking for investors, but for entrepreneurs, i.e. for people that are ready to follow an idea they believe in and to take some personal risks for it. Therefore, there might be financial contributions from the partners once the project idea is set. Yet, the exact amount will be up to negotiations and personal capacities and if the project is becoming big, there will for sure be need for external investors.
Yet, it is important to see that it is not about giving donations. The idea is that the project is good enough to create returns on investments. The last few years have shown it: there are possibilities to become rich or to loos everything in business ;-) That’s the risk part about it.
The only “donation” asked by everybody is to cover the expenses for the flight to Ethiopia and the stay there by himself/ herself.

How much does it cost to fly to Ethiopia and to stay there during one week.
Check out some booking sites, for example http://www.farecompare.com . The cheapest return ticket from Zurich to Addis Ababa is currently about 600€. Compared to Europe, living costs in Ethiopia are quite cheap. If you plan to travel around after the creativity week, there are very cheap or quite expensive options, according to your style of tourism…

Such a project might need big money. Do you already have investors?
No, we don’t. It would be quite difficult to convince somebody to give money for a project idea that is not yet born ;-) But of course, according to the development the project might take, there will be a need for investors. It might be one of the tasks of the participants from Europe to find such investors after the visit in Ethiopia…

5. More information

Can you send me more information about the project?

All the information we currently have is on the website in the download section. If you need specific information, please indicate what you want to know and we will try to answer your question.

I want to talk to you, can you call me?
We will contact you personally as soon as possible! Maybe, it will make more sense to meet personally with a group of interested people. Thanks for your patience!

Do you have flyers or a project proposal I can send to other people?
In the download section of the homepage, you can find the detailed project proposal as well as a call for applications from Ethiopia and from Europe. If you need a shorter version, you can use the text of my mail in different languages (see below). Otherwise, please specify what kind of information material you need, and we will produce it for you! Thanks anyway for sharing the project idea with your colleagues and friends!

I would like to tell other people about the project. Can I have a copy of the information mail in German/French/English?
Here you have a version of the mentioned message in each language:

I am just launching a new project, together with some partners from Ethiopia. The conviction behind it: Development does not (only) need help, but rather true cooperation, innovation and economic progress. That's why I am looking for people that want to join in and go to Addis Ababa next January, where they will - together with a group from Ethiopia, act as "entrepreneurs for development" and create as a first step promising project ideas.
Are you interested in such a project? Or do you know other people that might be? You can find more information about the project on the website www.business-machine.org. The project, the idea behind and the next steps are described there more in detail. But of course I can as well give some personal explanations through email.
And it is of course no problem if you want to forward this message to other people that would even be a good idea from my point of view ;-) I am in fact looking for a very diverse group and people can join independently of age, experience or professional background. The idea is to have a diverse group to create the base for a creative process. So "entrepreneur" is not the same like "having a lot of money"!
If you are interested or if you know people that might be, I would be happy to here from you (or them...)

Je suis en train de lancer un nouveau projet avec des personnes en Ethopie. L'id√©e de base derri√®re le projet: Pour un d√©velopement d'un pays il ne faut pas (seulement) de l'aide, mais plut√īt un partennariat r√©el, de l'innovation et du d√©velopement √©conomic. Je suis donc √† la recherche de personnes, qui aimeraient travaillier pendant une semaine √† Addis Abeba. En janvier ils cr√©eront comme des "entrepreneurs pour le d√©velopement", ensemble avec une equipe √©thiopienne, des id√©es de projets.
Est-ce que ça serait quelque chose pour toi? Ou bien: est-ce que tu connais des genst qui pourraient s'intéresser à un tel projet? Tu peux obtenir plus d'informations sur l'idée du projet sur internet (www.business-machine.org).
Et bien √©videmment tu peux √©galement transmettre ce message ou l'adresse du site √† d'autre personne. Je te serais m√™me tr√®s reconnaissant si tu pouvais le faire! En principe, je cherche plusieurs personne en toute l'Europe de diff√©rentes √Ęges, exp√©riences et savoir faire professionel. Le group devrait √™tre le plus divers possible, pour √©tablir un vrai proc√©ssus de cr√©ativit√©. "Entrepreneur" ne doit donc pas √™tre mis √©gal √† "a beacoup d'argent"!
Je me réjouis d'avance d'avoir des nouvelles de toi ou de personnes que tu connais!

Ich bin daran, ein neues Projekt mit Leuten aus √Ąthiopien zu lancieren. Die √úberzeugung dahinter: Entwicklung braucht nicht (nur) Hilfe, sondern echte Zusammenarbeit, Innovation und wirtschaftlichen Fortschritt. Aus diesem Grund suche ich Leute, die als "entrepreneurs for development" im Januar in Addis Abeba eine Woche Projektentwicklung betreiben wollen.
W√§r das was f√ľr dich? Oder kennst du Leute, die sich f√ľr ein solches Projekt interessieren k√∂nnten? Schau dir doch mal die Homepage www.business-machine.org an. Dort findest du eine Beschreibung des Projekts, der Grundidee sowie der n√§chsten Schritte. Nat√ľrlich kannst du mich auch direkt anfragen.
Und nat√ľrlich habe ich auch nichts dagegen, wenn du dieses Mail weiterleitest, im Gegenteil, ich w√§re sogar dankbar daf√ľr! Ich suche im Prinzip Leute aus ganz Europa, verschiedene berufliche Hintergr√ľnde, Alter und Erfahrungen. Die Gruppe soll m√∂glichst vielf√§ltig sein, um aus einem vollen kreativen Potenzial sch√∂pfen zu k√∂nnen. "Unternehmer" ist also keinesfalls mit "hat viel Geld" zu verwechseln!
W√ľrde mich freuen, von dir oder von Leuten, die du kennst, was zu h√∂ren!

Can I send this mail to any person or publish information about it on our website?
Yes, please do so! It is ok to have many applications, as this will make sure that we have a diverse pool of creative people. And in case there should be much too many applicants, the project can quite easily be doubled, or tripled or extended to another country…

The link to the homepage didn’t work!
There was indeed a little problem in the German version of my message, where the “http” was missing in the URL. The fact that you can read this FAQ probably means that you were interested and clever enough to copy the link manually to your browser ;-)

I can’t download one of the documents!
I checked out again all the documents and the links work well. So if you couldn’t download a document this probably means that your internet connection was temporarily down. Try it again, and if it still doesn’t work contact us so that we can send you the document through email.

6. Various

It doesn’t make sense to fly so fare away for only one week. Could I stay there longer, for example to travel around?
Great idea! Ethiopia is such a lovely country with an amazing landscape: you can travel in the highlands, go to mountains 4000m above sea level, be in a tropical area or go to one of the hottest deserts in the world. If you plan to travel around, you can of course count on the advice of the Ethiopian team members!