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Edition 2010-09-09 14:37:15
The Business Machine - short progress report and i

Dear friends of The Business Machine

The most important information at the beginning:
There will be two information meetings about the current progress of the Business Machine and opportunities to join one of the groups. The first meeting will be held on 27th of September, 18:15h in Bern. The second meeting is a virtual one, on 28th of September at 19:00h via Skype. And now read on for more information...

The silence was long, yet it doesn't mean that The Business Machine is not alive anymore. There simply were not so many news and like this we prefered not to contact you during the summer holidays. But now the moment has come to provide some more information and especially to involve more new people in the whole project.

What happened so far: During our meeting in March, 3 first priority and 3 second priority business ideas were idendified and working groups created to go into the details.

Since half a year, 11 people are working together in the following fields:

  1. Poultry: Trying to establish a poultry business (meat and eggs) to serve the local markets in Ethiopia.
  2. Games: Developing a (board) game for adults based on Ethiopian stories and legends.
  3. Tourism: Start a new kind of "social" tourism that allows foreigners to get in close touch with the Ethiopian population.

Besides the (internet) meetings between the different Ethiopian and European members of the groups, various local meetings in Ethiopia and Europe have been hold in order to keep up the motivation and to learn from the different groups.

The progress of the three groups is currently quite different:

  • The poultry group is the most advanced so far: a draft business plan is available, but now different checks for the feasibility of the project have to be carried out.
  • The games group is currently looking for more expert knowledge in game development. On the other hand, cooperation with Ethnological faculties of universities is sought for the collection of interesting myths and legends. And the preparation of a business plan is on the way.
  • The tourism group changed their plan: instead of starting with a big market research, they decided to try a bottom up approach and to launch a pilot travelling group in spring 2011. The concept for the next steps is being worked out right now.

The challanges of the groups are quite diverse: while the poultry group has grown much bigger than initially planned and has to deal with problems connected to a large scale project, the other groups progress a little bit slower than planned at the beginning as the capacities of the group members are limited.

Besides the work in the three groups, the next steps will be to find an appropriate super-structure that can somehow link the different businesses. Therefore, legal issues plus the question of finding enough start-up capital will be on the next month's agenda.

At the current stage of the project, we need more capacities and consultancy from outside. We are especially looking for the following competences:

  1. European member of the poultry group: the group only consists of one member from the European side so far. We are looking for 1 to 2 people in Europe to join the group. There is no need for a special expert knowledge as this is already in the group. Basically we are looking for all-rounders able to lead a critical dialogue with their Ethiopian partners.
  2. Expert in game developing: The game group is in need of a person with theoretical knowledge of how to develop (board) games. Furthermore, dynamic people that can bring forward the group by connecting them to the right people are appreciated, too.
  3. Experienced tourism expert: The tourism group currently has no special needs for more people, except maybe a person with experience and connections to the tourism sector in Europe.
  4. Business consultant: During the next months, the business plans will be developed and adapted. We are looking for a person with experience to evaluate business plans and to act as a sparring partner, asking critical questions in order to help to improve the plans worked out in the groups.
  5. Legal consultant: We are currently evaluating different ways of future cooperation, from a loose network to an integrated internatial firm. To choose the best option, we are lacking knowledge of legal issues concerning the establishment of international cooperation. Therefore we are looking for somebody who could give us consultancy in international private law or the (legal) possibilities to cooperate in different countries.
  6. Contact person to start-up funds: Besides our own capital brought in by the current members of The Business Machine core group, we will need external investments. Therefore we are looking for start-up funds or experts in finding risk-capital for start-up entreprises.

If you have such knowledge and are ready to join, dont hesitate to contact us! Furthermore we kindly ask you to put us into connection with such people, if somebody from your aquaintances has such competences!  All the "jobs" currently offered can be found on the first page of the website (

If you want to join one of the groups or to take over one of the functions described above or if you simply want to know more in detail what happened durnig the last 6 months, which are the lessons learnt and the current challengens, we kindly invite you to join one of our information meetings.
We offer the following possiblilites:

  • For Swiss members of the group, a face to face meeting will take place on Monday, 27 of September at 18:15h September in Bern. All those interested are kindly asked to give notice by email ( The meeting takes place at Gerechtigkeitsgasse 12 in the old town of Bern. You will receive more directions by email if needed.
  • For the rest all over the world or people not able to come to the first meeting, we are organizing a virtual (voice) conference via skype. This is planne for Tuesday, 28 of September starting from 19:00h Swiss time (18:00 GMT). According to the number of participants the meeting will be split into groups. Therefore thanks for giving notice of your presence, too (

Besides, individual consultancy is of course always possible.

Thanks for your interest so far. We will send you more information once one of the groups has made significant progress and is going to start their next step.

kind regards,

The Business Machine newsletter team