Once upon a time in a small Berber village in Morocco there was a young woman. Her name was Aicha. She had only two classes of schooling. Nevertheless Aicha convinced her parents to get her some kind of vocational training. Her parents allowed her to go to the city and learn how to sew. Aicha even got her will, when she wanted to get her driver's license! She returned to her village and Aicha taught her new skills to the other young women in the village. Together they started to sell their clothes. Aicha became an entrepreneur – nobody had ever taught her how to become one!
The founder of biz4d, Eleonore Wall, started up a network of students interested in "development cooperation" while she was still at University. From the active exchange with other students and travels to so called "developing countries" she tried to figure out: "is there still anything you can do to fight poverty and the huge global imbalances?" She was frustrated by how often large bi- or multilateral development projects function inefficiently, when measured against its original goal: improving life of the very poor.
In 2007, Eleonore traveled to Morocco and met Aicha through a friend (who translated the conversation). By then Aicha was already a member of the council of elders within the village - as the first woman in history!
Speaking to Aicha, they talked about the importance of learning French, since Aicha spoke only Berber. Aicha somehow knew, that learning French might be an advantage, but said she could not find the time and privacy for doing so.
It became clear that learning French for Aicha would in fact bring her forward much more than she could potentially imagine. She did not yet know to what kind of people she could be speaking, what kind of other women she could be meeting, and what kind of supportive networks she could be reaching - if only she spoke a language that gave her access to all this.
At this moment the idea of "linking 'high potential' with a mentor internationally" was born – the idea has grown and has been developed further, today it is the inspiration and motivation of biz4d.
It is obvious that there ARE people all around the world, who work locally and know their own circumstances, who are absolutely motivated to create positive change within their own environments. It also became clear that "it's not all about money". Bringing amazing projects forward is also a lot about access to information, feedback, encouragement and knowing people. These are all things that are difficult to teach in school, but can be provided by a person from outside the system, who is carefully listening to the particular challenges and opportunities. It is very clear that amazing developments can be triggered by a mentor.
Where: Messe Mainz, Eindhoven Allee, 55129 Mainz Hechtsheim
Hall 1 SM 71
When: 25th to 27th of March, whole day
We are looking forward to meet many great new people and convince great personalities to join biz4d as a mentor!
If you are curious about the further development and preparations of the fair, follow us on twitter! http://twitter.com/#!/biz4d
See you soon!