Week One

Since getting to know my team and the founder Cynthia of the young start-up TrusteeFarm, I understand
why I was matched with her. Cynthia is straightforward, funny and tough. Besides Cynthia, the
TrusteeFarm team consists of Joseph and Eric. They just remind me of me and my two friends from
college.
On my first day, I immediately noticed the dynamics, because the team had decided the week before to
give the marketplace a different name, created a new logo and a new pitch deck. But for me, it was
important to first understand how the three of them work and what challenges they face. And besides
my work on the pitch deck and the business plan, I realized that I could bring in some ideas from my
previous experience.
In order to learn a little more about the way the three of them work and their daily routine, I
participated in a few different meetings. The meeting on Tuesday with a potential farmer did not go as
expected. Afterward, we analyzed the reasons and jointly developed a structure for the next meeting,
which took place the next day with UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization). It was
a small sense of achievement to see that the preparations were worthwhile and that the next meeting
went very well.
It is simply very exciting to see what it is like to work in such a young start-up where the structures are
not yet so entrenched. Before, I have always worked in companies where the structures are already
established. Here I have the opportunity to contribute further ideas in addition to my main tasks and
make a noticeable difference. It is simply fun to work with my colleagues, as we talk about the different
cultures at lunch and an interesting exchange takes place. Besides, it is just nice to see that the
suggestions you make are accepted and that we work together on one idea.
Sometimes it is still very surprising for me to see how quickly the founders change something and simply
do not have the structure that I am used to as a German. But I think that is part of the challenge. I am
very happy to be part of this program and to work together with Cynthia, Joseph, and Eric. Thanks,
aXd program!

 

Week Two

At the end of my second week, I already feel like a team member. Cynthia, Eric, and Joseph take me to
their appointments and always include me in team e-mails. They ask me every day if I got home safely
and if I had something to eat.

Right at the beginning of the second week, I was able to go with my team to a meeting on a farm. After
we had met the owner of the farm the week before, we had an appointment with the farm manager,
who introduced us to the different kinds of fruits and vegetables he can offer in our market place.
The appointment went smoothly, but the way to the farm was not so easy. The driver who was supposed
to drive us to the farm in Sankope (2 hours away) arrived 2 hours later. So the day was exhausting
because we were back in Accra at 7 pm. But it was still interesting to see how Eric, who has an
agriculture background, is in his element.

Besides the visit, we had a long meeting together on Tuesday and talked about the pitch deck version I
had prepared for them. My ideas were accepted and we discussed some things together. Besides,
Cynthia, Eric, and Joseph took team photos so that both a professional team picture and individual
pictures could be shown on the pitch deck.

In addition to the pitch deck, I created a meeting template that the team should use to hold and
document regular meetings even after my time is up. Because before there was no digital
documentation available. Joseph had already explained this to me and presented an idea for a
documentation option for meetings with external parties, which I incorporated. I have learned from my
previous companies that regular agreements and documentation is very important.

On Friday the presentation of our program took place and together with Cynthia I was able to show our
work and I think everybody noticed that we are a good team. On this day I had the chance to meet the
founders of the other startups and I talk to all of them. What I could observe: Everyone has a backup
plan! So not only Cynthia has a second business but also the founders of the other start-ups, which is
very remarkable.

 

 

Week Three

 

Our time is nearly over. I just realize I'm not ready to go back. I wish the project would last two or three
months. In my to-dos, which I determined at the beginning with Cynthia, the only thing missing is the
financial plan.

Setting up the financial plan, I am faced with a challenge because you simply notice that we are working
differently and more precisely in Germany. Here I have to ask Cynthia every little detail and you notice
that the start-up is at the beginning and some things are not yet fully thought through. I have to see how
I can process the information to create something useful.

Nevertheless, it is also the case that other things come up from time to time, like on Monday. Since
Cynthia has to pitch in front of potential investors on Monday, we sat down again and practiced.
This week I noticed how much interest there is in the project and us as Fellows. This was shown very
clearly by Instagram, that the Youtuber Yeboah interviewed us and that we were invited to the German
Embassy. It is nice to see that the project inspires other people and that it is a project that is needed.