Being a foreign entrepreneur in Germany

One of the first events that I attended back in Berlin was the foundation of a German e.V. (association). When I arrived at the Café “Sala del Popolo” that day, I did not even know that the intention of the evening was to establish the “Foreign Entrepreneur Support Network”. I had been invited by Allison, founder and owner of Sala del Popolo and also initiator of this network.

The movement that I currently work for (www.wearewhatwedo.org) is about to take the next entrepreneurial step in Germany and I have been trying a bit to find my own way in the German bureaucratic jungle and did not get very far, so far. Thus, I have huge respect for Allison, as a Canadian in Berlin to start this network. Here are three questions to get to know her a bit more:

  • What burning question do I need answered?
  • How does one relax when there are so many interesting things to do?
  • How do you know when you have enough on your plate?
  • Does positive stress have the same negative effects as normal stress?

What drops of wisdom can I offer others just starting out?
Listen to others who are experienced above those who call themselves experts. Talk to as many people as possible who are doing it and avoid asking the government for info. Believe in yourself and your idea but be open to criticism; it helps you more clearly define what you are doing. Admit that you are human and will make mistakes and understand that wisdom is born from this.

What passion drove me to do this?
I felt defeated and powerless as a result of the negative situation I encountered while opening our café. I wanted to channel that frustration into something that worked towards solving the problem as opposed to allowing it to make me bitter and jaded. I never wanted to be one of those people who just points out what is wrong in our world but never offers up any solution. I was tired of complaining; time to get things done!


Allison is currently founding a non-profit support network for foreign entrepreneurs in Germany. The organization will serve as an information outlet for those thinking about starting a profitable or non-profitable business. Industry specific information will be made available in English and will deal with factual as well as cultural issues relevant to the foreign entrepreneur. The network will also organize events such as networking events, seminars and professional development workshops, all in English.

Allison is also actively involved in conversation initiatives geared toward building social capital and creating more integrated communities. The purpose of these conversations is to bring people together from diverse backgrounds, cultures, ages and status to speak about issues of common interest:

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