Start Up Weekend in Ethiopia- Our impressions

You can read here what a Start Up Weekend in Addis Ababa looks like and what comes out of it

The trigger for the private project "Startupweekend Addis" was the Swiss Economic Forum and last year's lecture by Ethiopian Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu on entrepreneurship in Africa. She basically said "teach us how to do business", I talked to her after the lecture and about a year later we organized the first Startupweekend in Ethiopia.


Interview über das Startupweekend

Startupweekend is a worldwide community that holds 54-hour events every weekend. In the following video by Zoheb, our moderator, explained in detail.

Or in words. On Friday evening about 100 people meet, tell their ideas, form groups and work from then until Sunday afternoon on a presentation in front of a jury. Experienced coaches help with the work within these 10 or so groups (who have never worked together before). On Sunday evening, the jury evaluates the pitch according to the criteria "business model", "customer validation" and "user experience & execution" and chooses three winners. In our case these were "ProFix" (platform to find blue collar workers), "Duka" (chlidren books in Amharic) and "Senede" (legal document automation).

Team Pro Fix beim Startupweekend in Adis Abeba
Team ProFix
Team Duka beim Startupweekend in Adis Abeba
Team Duka
Team Senede beim Startupweekend in Adis Abeba
Team Senede

This format, which anyone can perform, was performed at the library of the AAiT (Addis Ababa Institute of Technology) in Ethiopia from May 3 to 5, 2019. With the help of three local incubators: BlueMoon (Shem Asefaw), IceAddis (Florian Manderscheid) and XHub (Lelo Mbokazi) and driven from Switzerland by Ralph Schmidhalter, Benjamin Gräub and me. All voluntary work without pay.

Ralph and I established the local contacts necessary for the organization on site last November, when we were able to join an Africa trip of the SEF group "Powerpreneur" for a few days. I myself had never been to Africa before (except in Morocco and South Africa).

Team beim Startupweekend in Äthiopien

I have learned a lot, made friends and could tell many stories. How different it is to organize in Africa, how difficult it is to find sponsors or that nobody uses e-mail (anymore). But I like to close with thoughts about the participants.

The people who found their way to us are well trained and hungry for achievement. Some of them were already at the location before the mentioned time, those who didn't get a ticket came personally to try again and many students of the AAiT wanted to join us during the event when they saw the posters which were displayed one hour before. A motivation that one must look for with us. So the event was also rated with an NPS of 81 after graduation. Thanks!

PS: Money was sponsored by Ricolab, Hans Seidel Foundation and a private person from Switzerland who does not want to be named. Plus pocket knives from Victorinox and finest chocolate from Läderach. Thank you!

PPS: And here are a lot of photos from the Startupweekend Addis