Monday, 11 August 2014

YEEP what...?

Hi guys
Have you ever been to Africa? And Ethiopia? What comes to your mind when you think of it? Desert? Water shortage? Starving children?
Hmm, not very motivating… What if I told you that there are universities with highly motivated young people who want to actively develop themselves and their country?

Now you think: “Okay, that all sounds cool but what has it to do with YEEP? And anyway, what the hell is YEEP?” That’s why I will start introducing you to the Young Entrepreneur Exchange Project (YEEP).

YEEP was launched in August 2013 in Hawassa (for all of you who slept during geography classes – it’s in Ethiopia, East Africa) through the initiative and mediation of Stephan Brun, president of the Business Machine ( It’s a joint initiative between the Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH) in Switzerland and the Hawassa University (HU) in Ethiopia in the area of entrepreneurship. The aim of this project is to encourage Ethiopian students to become entrepreneurs and to support them in establishing their own companies. The ultimate goal of YEEP is to actively engage in generating new companies and hence new jobs which in turn support economic development in Ethiopia.

YEEP has three phases during which Swiss and Ethiopian students develop, in teams, a business idea using knowledge and competencies from both sides. In phase one the Ethiopian students post their business ideas on our platform ( – don’t hesitate to visit our fabulous website) where both Swiss and Ethiopian students can give feedback. In a first selection round, 20 to 25 business ideas are chosen to be improved on in phase two. At the end of the second phase, and the second round of selection, up to 7 business ideas – which implies seven teams – are selected and promoted to phase three during which they also take part in the start-up week in Hawassa in August. This start-up week represents the end of phase three and simultaneously the highlight of the first “YEEP year”. During the start-up week each team finalizes its business plan on which it was working on together, via the internet, the months before. At the end of the week the winning teams are announced following the submission of their business plan and final ‘pitch’ presentation. The prize is a start-up package. This will allow the teams to found their own company. Phuu, you survived the more theoretical part of my blog entry which you may have found a bit boring. Congratulations!

Where are we now? My humble self is sitting in front of my laptop – still in Switzerland and waiting impatiently to leave for Ethiopia. And where you are at the moment – I have no idea. ;). Just kidding. We’re now in the middle of phase three where the seven mixed teams are still working, as I said before via the internet, on their business plans. On 20th August we fly to Addis Abeba, the capital of Ethiopia. From there we’ll take a minibus (not as comfortable as it sounds… but this will be part of one of my next posts) and head down to Hawassa. On Monday, 25th August, the official part of the start-up week begins.

I have created this blog in order to keep you guys up to date and interested in how this project is developing. Before and during the start-up week I’ll write about the business ideas, the teams and what’s going on in general. I’m sure there will be many curious and funny stories and I’m really looking forward to sharing them with you.

Salam (which means goodbye in Amharic – the official language of Ethiopia. See, you’ve already learned something :P)

Love, Ari

1 comment:

  1. La star de semaine de yeep est démarré à hawassa éthiopie,Et j'ai ma très heureux de travailler avec swis les membres de l'équipe de plan d'affaires.