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April 26, 2022

Behind us lies an exciting founding year - read about the hurdles we had to overcome in 2021 and what we achieved in spite of them!

A beginning full of ideas

We remember our first team meeting on January 3, 2021, as if it were yesterday. Well refreshed by a time off work and our heads full of ideas, we sit down in front of our computers. "Hello", "Hei", "Hello"- online meeting!

This has been our reality from the very beginning. On the one hand, because we live in different cities, on the other hand, of course, due to the pandemic. But we are used to this way of working from our last joint workplace, the Albert Schweitzer Foundation for our Environment, and so we can start the exchange without any major difficulties. It quickly becomes clear that we have enough ideas and that we want to take the big step together: to start our own company, fill a gap in the animal movements and be our own bosses.

At the next meetings, however, it becomes clear what we are lacking: the knowledge of how to actually start a business. How do we want to work? What legal form suits us? How do we finance the project? These are just some of the questions that quickly draw big question marks on our screens.

But we are not deterred. After all, we tell ourselves, we are not the first to start a company with little experience. That's why we start with what we do best: Research!

The first half year

So how do we become company founders? To find answers to all our questions, we pore over guidebooks, scour the Internet, turn to experts and non-professionals from our environment.

Slowly we gain an overview of what needs to be done. We set about various tasks, but over and over again we realize that we have to clarify something else first: Namely, who we actually want to be, what our goals are and how we want to achieve them. We realize how important it is for us to develop a well thought-out self-image and mission statement before we turn to the business tasks.

Intensive discussions follow. About our values and what we want to convey to the outside world. And this is where we realize that the online format sets us limits. In a process where room is to be made for creativity, fears, wishes and needs, 18 inches is not a lot of space.

But thanks to our experience and numerous online tools, we overcame this hurdle together and nevertheless came up with great results! Now we are standing here, after weeks of intensive work, with a Theory of Change that is coherent for us and a mission statement that reflects us as individuals and that our company will be guided by.

Successes upon successes

After we set our ideal framework, we will submit two grant applications to Animal Charity Evaluators and Effective Altruism Funds in the spring of 2021. We definitely need a budget to cover all the costs that will come our way. The funding commitments from both organizations allow us to breathe a sigh of relief. Not only the financial security for the start-up period, but also the trust and confidence of two renowned organizations in our business idea, give us the necessary backing. Even though we were confident and full of motivation most of the time during the first months, we still had doubts whether our concept would be able to secure our salaries in the future.

With strengthened confidence in ourselves and our idea, we set about finding a suitable legal form. The German legal system does not really offer anything suitable. A company is either run for profit or is active as a civil society and non-profit organization. With our idea of offering paid services on the one hand and providing content financed by donations and grants free of charge on the other, we fit neither model. We decided in favor of a non-profit limited liability company (gGmbH), as this seemed to us to be the most suitable.

For the founding of the gGmbH in September 2021, we finally meet again in Berlin after almost two years. On a sunny autumn day, we sign the founding documents for Expertise for Animals gGmbH. We use the rest of the time for intensive collaboration outside of virtual space.

A completion

Only a few weeks left until the end of the year and time is getting short to reach our goal for the year. We have done a lot, taken many obstacles. But for a good end of the founding period we are still missing one essential thing: A homepage! Our figurehead on the internet - the medium through which we will get in contact with others and transport our contents. We quickly decided to leave the design to professionals, because, as we know, first impressions count and we want to present our high-quality work accordingly. We have to realize: Tastes are different and so it is not so easy for us to decide on an agency. In the end, however, we made the right choice! The agency convinces us not only with the implementation of our wishes, but also with their sensitive handling of topics that are important to us. We feel that we are in good hands all around, and so our year can come to a happy end.

And now?

Now, a little more than a year later, we have reached a point where we can say with a clear conscience: Our company, Expertise for Animals, stands on a solid foundation! We have put our ideas into a coherent structure, built up a financial cushion, founded a gGmbh that is registered in the commercial register and confirmed by the tax office, created the strategy for 2022 and now, with the publication of our homepage, finally also have an external presence.

At this point, we would like to thank all the people who have accompanied and supported us so far. To mention all of them by name would go beyond the scope of this article, but we hope that those who are meant feel addressed.

We are looking forward to the further way, which we will go together in this organization, the beautiful moments, which it will bring with itself, the tasks, which will come on us and the difficulties, which we will master.

Glossary

In our glossary, we explain our use of language and why we do not use some words, use them differently, or use them just so. In addition, technical terms are explained and sometimes illustrated graphically or in pictures.

( Glossary )