As an internee of the Diaspora and Development organization BASUG I recently participated in an entrepreneurship training program in Wuppertal from 26 to 28 November. This three days long program was organized by the social organization Kookaburra Non-Profit Limited Company with the title “Conveying entrepreneurship differently” and it was financed by the German development organization Engagement Global GmbH.
The aim of the training program was to train the participants about entrepreneurship through different engaging group activities, interactive plays and presentations. As a student of social science as well as an intern of a social organization my goal was to enhance my knowledge and to increase professional network. Since it was a multiple days long program the organizer provided us the accommodation, food and transportation.
The program took place at SWANE Café, a local meeting place and café, not far away from Wuppertal central station. The café looked old fashioned, and the decoration and the design were less attractive. Since it opens mostly in the evening, we had it for two whole days without interrupting the café’s normal business hour. I joined the training program on Friday at 5 pm at SWANE Café. There I met Inna Hanciu, one of the organizers, and other participants, who joined from different organizations. In total, we were 14 participants. I was introduced to them and their organizations. We were having coffee with light snacks while talking about the experiences of our previous different trainings and workshops. After that we had some formal discussions on entrepreneurship presided by the training instructor Selly Wane. The training session was followed by a wonderful dinner. After that, we all came back to the Hotel to stay over the night.
We stayed at Hotel B&B and shared a room with one more participant. The accommodation was satisfactory, and the breakfast was served in the morning. The next day’s program started at 10 in the morning. The instructor explained what entrepreneurship is, what the entrepreneurs do and how they work. During the training I realized that entrepreneurship is to develop a unique product, program, or service for a specific need, specific region, or a specific group of people. I also learned that the entrepreneurs do not try to impose their own idea or plan on the community they want to help. Instead of that, they first try to understand what the community need, how they want to be helped, when and to what extent they want to be helped. After that they develop the program according to the needs of the community and help them with their knowledge, tools, and available resources.
We were divided into three groups and each group was asked to develop an entrepreneurship idea following the steps of entrepreneurship. Each group came with different ideas. One group developed tourism business idea, another developed a consultancy firm idea, and our group developed a textile product manufacturing idea. Afterwards we further developed by digging deep into our ideas and evaluations by following different financial, geological, administrative, legal, and marketing parameters. We did all the possible calculations on population, geographical proximity, nature and weather of the area, attributes of population, need of the community, resources of the community, market demand, and the feasibility of the business. I could learn a lot of things from this idea developing process. I learned how to think logically and to take different points of views into consideration without forgetting numerous small details that can have a great impact on the final product. On the final day, we had to play a drama, where we acted as an entrepreneur, who was losing money due to his poor business policy and calculations. Then the solutions and things to be considered were also shown in the play. After that, we had networking sessions to know each other better. We discussed our organizations and previous work experiences. Then the program ended with a delicious lunch.
This training program was more interactive than my previous other training programs. The participants were not just spectators, rather the training involved them in the discussion, assigned different tasks, and received their feedbacks. Since it was three days program, we used our free time to know each other better. In the evening we went for a walk in the city center, enjoyed drinks and music at the bars. These enjoyable moments motivated us to work together and to help each other, which usually does not happen in a day long program. Before the program I was afraid, if I would understand the discussion as it was supposed to be in German and my German language was not good enough. However, I could understand most of the discussions, I presented two group tasks, and I was an active participant during the entire training. This was possible because other participants were very encouraging and helpful to me. Through this program I came to know some wonderful people who were passionate to work for the development of the society and want to make the world a better place for the future.
(Writer is the internee of BASUG Diaspora and Development and Masters’ Student in University of Applied Science Bonn-Rhein-Sieg, Germany)