By the end of the second week in Addis, we were getting accustomed to life in Ethiopia. We were taking the local “big taxi”, which were large vans that had set routes around the city with an “assistant driver” who shouted out the route/destination out the window. Understanding the way these taxis worked was confusing, but we quickly mastered the basic Amharic words required to take them, and really started to feel like locals.
In the classroom, our students were really beginning to understand the case method and warm up to us. We were able to get our quiet students to start debating against each other in front of the class, and the business plans were really starting to shape up. By this time, the students all had their ideas, business model, and marketing strategies thought out. They covered everything from educational services to spas to advertising – we had a truly ambitious group.
In our second week, we also met with Dugassa and Hanna from the Entrepreneurship Development Centre (EDC), our site partner along with the Addis Ababa University. We were able to tour their office and understand more about the work that they are doing for entrepreneurs in Ethiopia. EDC offers training, workshops, mentorship, and advisory services to entrepreneurs all over Ethiopia. It was inspiring to hear about the work that they do every day to serve entrepreneurs.
Our last week in Addis cumulated in two big events for our students: a case competition and their business plan presentations. For the case competition, we did a case on a canoe company and had the students come up with solutions. It was amazing to see how far they had come since the first class, confidently standing at the front of the room and owning their presentation.