What is Open Source Entrepreneurship (OSE)? OSE is an idea that was come up with by Matt Stahlman and David Smith (me) as a social side project to our entrepreneurial activities as expats in the Republic of Moldova. As Peace Corps Volunteers we worked with Moldovan businessmen and aspiring entrepreneurs to help them write and refine business plans all the while encouraging them to "take the leap - start your own business!" Through this process we became aware of the very real risks and pitfalls unique to Moldova as well as the trepidation and uncertainty felt by people when considering such a huge step. As we prepared to leave the Peace Corps and chose to start our own business in Moldova we resolved to share with others our experiences and process in order to break down some of the barriers that keep people from starting a business here - in particular fear of the unknown.
So with this in mind we came up with Open Source Entrepreneurship. Firstly, why Open Source? Wikipedia defines Open Source as "In production and development, open source as a development model promotes a universal access via free license to a product's design or blueprint, and universal redistribution of that design or blueprint, including subsequent improvements to it by anyone" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_source). We are hoping to adapt this idea, generally used for software or hardware development, to the idea of starting a business in a developing economy.
What exactly are we Open Sourcing? Since we're starting a BBQ restaurant can you expect my recipes here? Nope. We're not Open Sourcing our whole business, we're Open Sourcing the process of doing business in Moldova. This includes everything from business structure and registration, to individual documentation and visas, to experiences with government agencies, taxes, etc, etc. Furthermore we will be sharing our thoughts and ideas on the ever-present topics of corruption and our experiences in the greater business and social community in Chisinau.
Ok, for much more than that you will have to read our blog posts (which we will endeavor to post frequently) but before signing off I want to toss out some draft Vision / Mission / Goals for our idea:
Providing open access to the process of starting a business in a developing country in order to provide real (replicable) lessons and experiences to the budding local entrepreneurial community.
A small team of Americans and Moldovans working together to develop innovative business ideas while freely sharing their experiences with the entrepreneurial community.
- Documenting every aspect of starting a business in Moldova
- Committing ourselves to business practices that are replicable in Moldova
- Committing ourselves to business practices that are legal and follow international standards of conduct (especially reguarding bribes and corruption)
- Providing universal, free, and open access all materials via website, trainings, and to make ourselves available to the community as a resource
- Making all materials available in Romanian, Russian, and English in order that all information is accessible to the local and international community (note: we will fail at this badly at first. Give us time but for the moment expect the most timely and relevant updates to be in English. Use google translate to help if you need to)
Is this cool to you? let us know in the comments. If you want to get involved click here for some ideas of how.