YEEP became visible for the first time, when the website and the integrated platform for business idea generation went online. but before that, many other things had to be made ready:  

On the Swiss side, we had the goal to select between 10 - 15 BFH students from those interested in taking part in elective YEEP BFH module commencing in February 2014. On the Ehtiopian side,  efforts were made to ensure that sufficient HU students know of the project and are interested in participating in the Business Idea Generation phase of the project and the Business Idea Competition – which would give five to six winning HU students the opportunity to continue to the Start-up week and Business Plan Competition. 

Students from the Hawassa team took on the task of developing the YEEP website and open innovation platform, the core element of the first phase of the project, namely the Business Idea Competition. 

At the same time, we had to find donors and partners in order to find enough funds to cover the project's costs. Luckily, we received a  considerable support from Jansen PrimeSteps Foundation (, which allowed us to start the project on time. 


Three phases of YEEP

YEEP 1 was organised in three distinctive phases: During the Business Idea Generation students posted business ideas on a web platform (open innovation process). The best 25 ideas went into the Business Idea Competition and finally 7 of them were selected to go to the Business Plan Competition and to participate - together with Swiss students, in the YEEP start-up week in Hawassa. 


Business Idea Generation

Ethiopian and Swiss students had the possibility to post a brief description of their idea on the YEEP website. Our intention was to foster a process of feedback and reflection, where the students could learn from different inputs and improve their idea or make it more clear.

All together, there were more than 70 ideas posted on the platform, many of them from Information and Communication Technologies, as this school was particularly active at Hawassa University. Some students were very active and also commented a lot on other ideas. At the end, 25 ideas were selected by a mixed Ethiopian-Swiss team.  

Ideas that were selected to go to phase 2 (in alphabetical order of the business ideas owner):

 NameBusiness Idea
1 Assay Abadi Mobile application for voice to voice translation
2 Banchigize Bazezew Online ICT help desk
3 Benjamen Finger print banking system(withdraw money from ATM,book account.........)
4 Biya Jima I Got Device i need ! ---- ( ---- Bussiness Personels will increase their income through us !
5 Christina Martig Biogas digester - turning green waste into electricity
6 Dawit Smart multi language translator for nations and nationalities of Ethiopia and some selected foreign languages
7 Dereje Tafesse Online E-learing system
8 Dilamo Terefe Hand pumped drip irrigation system
9 Emanuel Roth Turning trash into cash – Urban Mining
10 Enyew Amare Designing website for Hospitals and Computerized Hospital system
11 Erku Controlling carrying capacity of public transport system with out traffic controller
12 Eyob The Design of Environmentally Friendly and Economical Residential Building in Ethiopian Standard.
13 Girma Kedir A new perspective to fill the gap of inadequate professional project managers for medium and small scale construction projects in developing countries.
14 Micheal Wedaje a software that converts sound into action that helps for deaf peoples
15 Molalegn Belachew Solving problem concerned with bitumen distributor machine
16 Mulugeta Yohannis Online bus ticket and reservation based on application
17 Petros Belachew Android Emergency Call System application(no need to worry during emergency situations)
18 Redwan Mustefa Data gathering and analysis for agriculture and E-agriculture
19 Remo Henze Running holidays in Ethiopia
20 Roba Easy Access to what Ethiopia gets in hand - open partnership for Swiss partners too!
21 Solomon Mamo Rural electricity at household level
22 Temesgen Ayneka Tour guide android application for guiding tourists that comes to Ethiopia
23 Tigist Remote sensing method for ground water
24 Tsega Kassaye Derseh - Facilitates E-Commerce in Ethiopia. Allows people to buy and sell items on-line without a credit card or a bank account simply by using their cell phone prepaid credit as currency.
25 Yonas Tadesse Forming film pyro-tecnic and special effect institution in Ethiopia


Business Idea Competition

The students who had posted these 25 suggestions had 2 weeks, to refine their business idea and to present it in a standardized form. There, they had to answer questions about potential clients, about competitors or the challenges the foresee for the implementation of their idea. 

In several rounds, we assessed the ideas with the help of experts in Ethiopia and Switzerland. At the end, the following 8 business ideas were selected to go to the final YEEP phase. As to teams were combined, the final number was 7.

Team NameBusiness IdeaComment
5 Banchigize Bazezew Information and Communication Technologies Help Desk  
1 Binyam Halefom Fingerprint System to Secure Money Transfer  
2 Biya Jima I got Devices! - Online Platform to Trade (Electronic) Devices  
6 Christina Martig Biogas digester - turning green waste into electricity Combined with Electricity for Rural Households
3 Petros Belachew Emergency Call Application for Smart Phones  
6 Solomon Mamo Electricity for Rural Households Combined with Biogas digester
7 Tsega Kassaye EthioPay - Mobile Payment System  
4 Yonas Tadesse Special Effects for Ethiopian Movies  


Business Plan Competition

In the final phase of the project, Ethiopian and Swiss students started working together in the 7 teams. At the beginning, the collaboration was only online: every team had to set-up an internal organisation and communication channels and finally to develop a lean canvas business model for their idea. 

At the end, everybody met face to face during the YEEP start-up week in Hawassa. In 5 days, every team had to write down their idea in a short business plan and learn to present their business (pitching). At the end of the week, a mixed Ethiopian-Swiss jury assessed all presentation and business plans and selected the three winning teams, who received a prize money (to be used for the business). The prize was symbolically handed over in an award ceremony with different high-level representatives.

  • First Prize: FANO Fx - Special Effects for Ethiopian Movies (Yonas Tadesse, Yosef Birhane, Abraham Alemayehu, Emanuel Roth, Bruno Wymann)
  • Second Prize: Haile Industries - Be independent, produce energy by yourself (Beyene Asamnew Derbe, Remo Henze, Solomon Mamo, Christina Martig)
  • Third Prize: EthioPay (Tsega Kassaye, Beamlaku Amare, Fritz Wittwer, Stefan Agosti)


More information about YEEP 1 can be found in the final report of the pilot project




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