As the Westerwelle Foundation celebrates its fourth anniversary, Michael Mronz, Chairman of the Foundation, addresses its supporters.
The Westerwelle Foundation is currently celebrating its fourth birthday. It was never my wish to celebrate this anniversary as the Foundation’s Chairman. This position was supposed to be reserved for Guido.
Yet the time that I can put into working on the Westerwelle Foundation’s many amazing projects gives me the opportunity to encounter Guido, his ideas, and his goals time and again. Rather than being a job, to me, the Westerwelle Foundation has become a way of spending time with Guido.
It has been great to watch the Foundation evolve throughout the past four years. The organisation is growing and flourishing. Guido would be proud.
This year, we were able to gain Evonik as a strong partner. With their support, we will open the next Westerwelle Startup Haus in Rwanda. Together with our partner enpact, we are already running a successful Startup Haus in Tunis. Every day, we are helping people help themselves.
When Guido and our friend Ralph Dommermuth established the Foundation, they were thinking about how to help the German model of the “Mittelstand” (i.e. small and medium-sized enterprises) take root in other regions of the world, especially in emerging markets. Here, “Mittelstand” is more than just an economic concept. Indeed, to me, “Mittelstand” is a societal model for progress, as well as for political stability. The way there must be led by as many successful founders and entrepreneurs as possible.
Where is the Foundation headed? Together with our team, Ralph Dommermuth and I have devised a strategy for growth. Our Westerwelle Young Founders Programme will be doubled next year. The demand for the programme has been exceptional, with almost 2500 founders from all over the world applying in 2016. I am excited to see how many young entrepreneurs will answer the current call for applications.
Moreover, we are already considering where in Africa to build the next Startup Haus.
Naturally, we are grateful for any kind of support that will help us to continue to work as successfully as we have until now. I want to thank all of our current and prospective donors and supporters for their trust thus far and in the future, not only on my behalf but also on Guido’s!
I am certain that we can help many brave and dedicated individuals all over the world achieve economic independence, as Guido would have wanted. His spirit will live on through the Westerwelle Foundation.