I am just back from Addis Ababa where I visited the winners of the “Business Plan Contest” from last October. Both start-up companies have made great progress. The mushroom spawn laboratory has opened few weeks ago and is already producing and selling spawn to local farmers.
The biggest challenge was to rent a good laboratory without spending too much for rent. Tilahun Zegeye, the general manager and co-owner, is also still busy with importing some lab equipment to increase capacity of the company.
I also went to visit a mushroom farm of his University Professor 30 min. outside of Addis Ababa. He grows amazing good mushrooms, especially the Shitakee mushroom was excellent!
Behailu, the general manager of “Abyssinia Essential Oil” had just completed the distillation unit and bought a reasonable priced pick-up car. He was just about to leave to the South of Ethiopia where he will start the distillation process of eucalyptus oil.
Both entrepreneurs were very enthusiastic to start the business and they have done excellent work so far. As both of them are operating in a niche market without competition, we believe the business will grow fast and become profitable quickly.
Behailu and Tilahun, both well educated scientists, will hire more employees and pass their knowledge to others. In this way, I really believe we develop the country and create something important. Trade not aid is the objective!
As I was in Addis, few newspapers wrote about the business contest in a very positive way. I discussed with people from the “Engineering Capacity Building Program” and the GTZ and we all hope to organize the second edition of the contest in October 2009.Currently I look for new investors who are willing to invest in start-up companies in Ethiopia. The investment amount is approx. 20.000 Euro for a minority share in a well selected and promising start-up venture. I work on a structure that would give legal protection to such an investment.
Anyone interested: please contact me!