Underlying principles

  • Thursday, 03 December 2009 21:52
  • Last Updated Saturday, 19 December 2009 23:24
  • Written by Administrator


In many countries from the south, development work has become a business by itself: thousands of people – very often the best educated people of a country - are working in the NGO-sector, offering a wide range of services for children, old people, and women, unemployed and many other target groups.
Yet, this it is not the kind of business that the project The Business Machine is looking for.
As important as these efforts may be for the individual human being suffering from poverty or sickness and as good the intentions behind them are: the sheer size of the NGO sector leads to a crowding out of individual initiative. Consequences are disastrous: whole countries are becoming dependent, people start waiting for somebody else to change their life and they loose faith in their own capacities.
On the other side, the wish to help can be questionable, too: Workers in a NGO or even simple trainees coming to a country of the south for a few weeks or months: all of them intend to serve other people. But this noble gesture isn’t it, too often, just a way to give sense to their own lives? Is there real faith that the helped people have many capacities and that they can become independent? Many times, organisations are just administering poverty instead of trying to overcome it. And being employed in an NGO, even in a dangerous area, is quite a safe thing: there is always the possibility to going back in our safe and wealthy environment.

The Business Machine does not pretend to act out of a moral motivation: The intention is to start a profitable business, not to help. A project is considered successful if the people involved start making profit from their idea and work. However, The Business Machine does not intend to make quick profits by investing in speculative or exploiting people. The aim is sustainable development, based on strong fundaments and long term intentions.

Such private initiatives are crucial, not only for the profit of the people involved in it, but also for the development of a whole country or society: History teaches us that none of the countries from the north has been developed by foreign aid, but by the innovation and hard work of its people.
The Business Machine strongly believes in the capacities that lie in the people from the countries of the south. In many of the young economies from the south with its big share of young people a huge potential for innovation, creativity, for profits and development remains unused, just waiting for exploration.


Yet, similar to 19th century Europe, developing this potential is not a risk-free business: An entrepreneur, working on its own account and following its own convictions, can make big profits, but he can fail, too. We are looking for people from Europe and Africa with such an entrepreneurial state of mind: Europeans ready to do a little bit more than just adding to their CV a nice experience of having worked in the south. And Africans willing to renounce the temptation to just getting a safe job in the NGO-sector.
The concept of being an entrepreneur is often misunderstood: it is much closer to the terms of “initiative” and “responsibility” than it is to “money” or “experience”: Everybody can be an entrepreneur, independent of age, knowledge or experience. The Business Machine is not looking for investors bringing in the big money, but for people following a proper vision, living their convictions, working on their own account and ready to take the risks and responsibilities for what they are doing. So, it is not principally about capital, but rather about innovation!