Expat Entrepreneur in Germany: Didier Chabi sells humour through hard times
Dutch expat Didier Chabi advises companies to cooperate with related business. And his business promotes an international unity: through laughter.
Name: Didier Chabi
City of residence: Berlin
Name of company: East-Side Comedy Berlin
Date of company launch: 28th August 2010
Can you give us a brief description of your business and how it is going?
East-Side Comedy Berlin is an English language comedy showcase featuring an international line-up of stand-up comedians from all around the world as well as its ‘regulars’ from Berlin's growing English-speaking scene. Get an "insider's view" of life in the Hauptstadt from some of its grittiest residents, including jokes on language, history, German culture, politics, parenting, nightlife, hedonism, love, drugs, technology and everything else characterizing life today in the "creative centre of Europe". Referring to the results both artistically and economically, the club is undoubtedly the fastest growing of its genre in Germany.
What do you like about doing business in Germany?
I like the fact that the product which I am promoting is unique on the market. Germany is a country where the national language is still predominant in both the public and private media sector. Offering an English language comedy club is a perfect solution for diverse categories of people in society. The visitors of our East Berlin Club are both nationals and expats; sub-categorized into students, parents, English language lovers or native English living abroad (and homesick). The club is inclusive as well as we benefit from the Country’s ‘multi-cultist’ drive. When millions of people are concentrated into one geographical location, they need tolerance. Through providing a platform for international humour, cultural knowledge can be conveyed in a fun and creative way.
What do you find most frustrating about doing business in Germany?
As mentioned above, this is a country with a strong drive to conserve its own language and culture. Offering English Comedy is a business that requires delivering English speaking stand up artists. Unfortunately the country isn’t really producing any. As result I am at the mercy of artists from abroad; countries such as UK, US, Australia. It’s frustrating to run business based on products with long and expensive importation costs!
What hurdles did you encounter when setting up?
It could have been possible to have sponsors or more business partners if we were located in the United States or other English speaking countries. But many barriers such as being a ‘new thing’ and not traditionally matching with other businesses for instance are constant hurdles that I am constantly climbing on a marketing level.
How has the economic crisis affected your business?
I am lucky to be new in business, meaning my experience has been earned in hard times. Should I have had an easier past, I might now be facing the issue of reconsidering my marketing strategy. As an ‘athlete trained in difficult conditions to perform in a difficult field’, I am adapted to this economic crisis and I am doing very well.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs setting up business in Germany?
Corporation; that’s the best way I can put it. Do not do it alone. Join efforts. Work together with related entities. I realize that the western world at a certain level is failing to develop a culture of unity. The same applies to business. Many poor nations have failed to run the course of development due to not unifying their efforts. The individualism and flexibility of entrepreneurship is a phenomenon that needs to be recognized as a way out of the economic crisis. And I don’t see it happening without effective networking and cooperative production between certain businesses. Many companies are competing unnecessarily, and in doing so, will lock their own doors.
How does running a business in Germany compare to running a business in other countries that you have lived in?
Any judgmental point here is all relatively bound to the realities in each country. Every country offers a foundation that helps to shape a specific business.
Would you like to add anything?
As the world has become one ‘global village’ I am looking forward to marketing my product on a wider scale. In May this year I am conducting a team of Star comedians to tour the world. Mission: Find an international sense of humour to perform acts to audiences of expats and friends, using laughter as the key to promote a global mind.
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