“Cooking oil made from Niger seed is used in Ethiopia for frying vegetables or meat. It is not exactly cheap – and because of its nutty taste it is often regarded as a delicacy,” says Peter Renner, Executive Director of the Foundation. “The goal of the Green Innovation Centre is that the local people should benefit from this and other treasures of their region.”
Another example is the honey produced by a beekeepers’ cooperative. It is passed on to a cooperative that specializes in freeing it from beeswax. Then other young entrepreneurs package the honey and pass it on to a fourth cooperative that is responsible for marketing. From vegetables and seeds to animal feed: two-and-a-half years after the founding of the Green Innovation Centre in Dano, more than 400 young women and men are organized in different businesses that process agricultural products locally.
“Our task as a Foundation is to support the cooperatives in the start-up phase,” says Peter Renner. We provide them with start capital and offer them training courses. In addition, we place the necessary infrastructure at their disposal – from the site for their domicile to the motor-powered oil mill.” In line with the Foundation’s motto “Help for self-development”, the goal of the business start-ups is that after the start-up phase they should work autonomously and independently. “They must start to think like entrepreneurs,” says Renner. “That means, for example: sustainable management, building up reserves and independently implementing the necessary changes.”