Category Our Change Makers
13 September 2023

Ready to Lead with a Sustainable Vision: How the ISS shaped Afomias Entrepreurial Journey

Tag Entrepreneurship
Tag Sustainability
Tag international

Ready to lead with a Sustainable Vision

How the International Summer School (ISS) shaped Afomias Entrepreurial Journey

I am thrilled to share my exhilarating journey as a proud graduate of the International Summer School (ISS) on Sustainable Entrepreneurship 2023 at TUM School of Management. This transformative experience has empowered me with profound insights into the realm of sustainable business practices while emphasizing the fusion of profit, planet, and people.


My name is Afomia Andualem, and I hail from the beautiful country of Ethiopia. I am an electrical engineer with a management degree, and I proudly serve as the Co-founder and CEO of Agelgil Eco Packaging, an innovative startup on a mission to revolutionize sustainable packaging solutions.


The ISS program's content was nothing short of remarkable, extending far beyond conventional learning. In addition to formal education about sustainable entrepreneurship, the organizers thoughtfully curated a range of cultural activities that enriched our experience. From the bustling Beergarden Weihenstephan to the serene Beergarden Tegernsee, each event facilitated networking, camaraderie, and a broader perspective on the business world.


The heart of the program lies in understanding how to create a profitable business that aligns seamlessly with the three bottom lines: economic success, social responsibility, and environmental stewardship. This pivotal aspect of the program was expertly addressed by Prof. Frank-Martin Belz, the esteemed Academic Director of the International School. Through engaging discussions and expert-led sessions, he guided us to grasp the intricate balance between these three dimensions, enlightening us on the potential to revolutionize business practices for the betterment of both humanity and the planet.


My motivation to join ISS 2023 at TUM is deeply rooted in my commitment to advancing sustainable entrepreneurship. Leveraging my background as an electrical engineer and Entrepreneur, I've witnessed firsthand the transformative power of sustainable business practices. Joining this program presents a unique opportunity to further expand my knowledge and expertise in this field. Agelgil Eco Packaging is not just a business venture; it's a vision of a greener, more sustainable future. Incubated within the Bahir Dar University Business Incubation and Techno-Entrepreneurship Center, my team and I have been working tirelessly to develop eco-friendly Paperboard packaging alternatives that can reduce environmental impact while meeting market needs.


Gratitude permeates my heart for the exceptional participants who contributed their unique viewpoints, fostering an environment of collaborative learning. Special appreciation goes to our esteemed guest speakers, including Florian Henle from Polarstern Energie, Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Rams from Africa GreenTec, and other luminaries. Their insights, coupled with the mentorship of Silvia Angel, Dr. Aline Margaux Laucke, and Nele Terveen, fueled our transformative journey.


The pinnacle of our experience was the hands-on exercise of developing sustainable business models within teams and pitching them to a distinguished jury. The privilege of receiving our certificates directly from Prof. Dr. Gunther Friedl, the Dean of TUM School of Management, was a moment of profound pride and validation. This journey has not only equipped me with knowledge and tools but has also ignited a sense of purpose that will guide my entrepreneurial endeavors towards responsible and impactful practices.

My participation in ISS 2023 isn't just about personal growth; it's about equipping myself with the knowledge and tools to drive change on a larger scale. I believe that by learning from experts, collaborating with fellow entrepreneurs, and gaining international exposure, I can bring back valuable insights to further propel Agelgil Eco Packaging towards a more sustainable and prosperous future. This journey isn't just about me; it's about making a positive impact in Ethiopia and beyond.


As I reflect on my time at ISS 2023 TUM, I am filled with gratitude for the organizers, guest speakers, mentors, and fellow participants from Australia, Bermuda, China, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Nepal, Peru, Spain, Saudi Arabia, USA, and the faculty who nurtured our growth. This program has left an indelible mark on my journey, shaping me into a conscious entrepreneur ready to lead with a sustainable vision.


With enthusiasm and determination,

Afomia Andualem ISS 2023 Graduate