This article first appeared on www.enicbcmed.eu
Vamos Todos is an eco-tourism NGO that promotes and encourages the love of nature amongst its members in Lebanon, thus seeing life through a new perspective. Its naming, which means ‘Let’s go all together’ was chosen to reflect the spirit of their club, where you can participate “in a different way, in a better way”, which is also their slogan.
The club was founded in September 2006, by Mark Aoun, a Lebanese guy who has been hiking for more than 20 years and has been all over Lebanon as well as some other countries. He would like to share with you his love for nature and life, introducing you to his experience with the EU-funded project GIMED, under the ENI CBC Med Program.
“This project has a good impact on rural development, in terms of empowering local women, small local business owners, and helping youth find jobs in their own villages,” says Mark Aoun, Vamos Todos’ Founder.
His team is composed of Alba Wardini, photographer and one of the founders of Vamos Todos; Tony Falakha, a guide in Vamos Todos; Elie Saade, the adventurous explorer; Elias Chahine, the financial admin; Marianne Aoun, responsible of multimedia and administration tasks; Araxie Berberian, responsible of administration tasks and Martine Aoun, Vamos Todos Advisor.
Mark shared the key takeaways from GIMED training. ‘Vamos Todos’ started its way with GIMED through the training sessions. They have set their financial plan for their project based on expectations on different levels and planned for the unexpected during the operation of the project. In Mark’s words: “Thanks to GIMED coaches we learned how to think out of the box and linked all the ideas in an interesting story for the audience. Before joining the program the eco stay project was just an idea and GIMED helped us transform this idea into a startup business”, he explained.
Mark was also proud to announce that thanks to GIMED he was able to start operating before the scheduled date and started receiving guests in their guesthouse before finishing the transformation into an eco-stay.
And the biggest piece of advice he shared for someone starting out is: “as a start-up business, you will always need help or a push, not just on a financial level, but also consider people who can help you with their experience, training, and coaching. This experience will help you make fewer mistakes and grow your business faster than you think it is possible”, he concluded.