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Ethiopia Launches the Inaugural National Ethiopian Startup Awards

East Africa startup awards

As the host nation of the Global Startup Awards Africa, Ethiopia launched the inaugural national Ethiopian Startup Awards on 3rd June 2024 at the Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI). This follows the success of the Global Startup Awards Africa Summit held in October 2023 in Addis Ababa and forms an integral part of the national agenda to prioritise innovation and entrepreneurship for the next 10 years of implementing the country’s prosperity roadmap. 

This year’s Global Startup Awards Africa 2024 competition garnered 11,900 entries from across Africa, with Ethiopia contributing 24% of the Eastern region’s entries. Notably, Ethiopian startups showcased remarkable growth in participating in the awards with a 400% growth in applications since 2023, underscoring the nation’s progress in fostering an empowering startup ecosystem and advancing its role as a hub for innovation and development. Compared to other African nations, Ethiopia stands strong with the most entries in the AgriTech and Youth categories.

The awards were a collaboration between the Global Innovation Initiative Group (GIIG), the Ethiopian Ministry of Labor and Skills (MOLS), the Ethiopian Ministry of Innovation and Technology (MInT), and the Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) Ethiopia supported by the Development Bank of Ethiopia, Ethiopian Airlines and EthioTelecom.

As a rising startup nation, leading emerging Ethiopian innovators were showcased and formally celebrated as the Ethiopian Regional Finalists that will advance to the regional and then continental Global Startup Awards Africa. 

The Regional Finalists from across Africa have been announced, marking the beginning of the Public Voting and Regional Jury round, which will conclude on June 30. This phase will be repeated to ultimately narrow down to the top 14 GSA African Winners, who will be announced at the GSA Africa Summit, hosted in Ethiopia for the second consecutive year.

His Excellency Ato Temesgen Tiruneh, the Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia, announced the Ethiopian Regional Finalists for the Startup of the Year category namely; Akilo AI Corp, Chapa Financial Technologies S.C., Blue Health Ethiopia, Harmee Jobs, Garri Logistics, and EQub

His Excellency Ato Temesgen Tiruneh, Deputy Prime Minister, added, “What startups contribute to the socioeconomic development is huge. This is why it is enabling nations to be more influential, even in politics, where we witness how countries with startups have boosted their GDP.” 

Her Excellency Muferihat Kamil Ahmed, Minister of Labor and Skills, along with esteemed state ministers, recognized a total of 68 regional finalists across the categories Founder of the Year, Newcomer of the Year, Ecosystem Hero, Investor of the Year, and startup categories in Agritech, Youth, Fintech, Green Tech, Women in Tech, HealthTech, and Mobility & Logistics all aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Emphasizing the Ethiopian government’s commitment to promoting growth in the startup sphere, Her Excellency Muferihat Kamil Ahmed, Minister of Labor and Skills said, “Ethiopia is pursuing an economy led by creativity innovation, and knowledge.”she shared. “The Global Startup Awards is platform to enable people to realise their full potential. This year if we could arm our children with enough resources, if we could prepare them psychologically and through mentorship, we could make it that they not only compete, but compete to win,” concluded H.E. Muferihat.

The event served as a vital convening platform, showcasing the local innovation ecosystem to peers, key industry experts, and government officials. It facilitated collaboration and forged connections to drive growth and innovation. With a dynamic, energetic program designed to inspire creative and ambitious ideas, the event introduced new ways of thinking big and provided global insights.

Jo Griffiths, Co-Founder of the GIIG Africa Fund, emphasized, “‘Think Big’ is a call to action. It challenges us to transcend conventional boundaries, to dream audaciously, and innovate relentlessly. Thinking big is not just an ambition. It’s about responsibility. It’s about recognizing that our ideas have the power to shape societies, influence economies, and create a legacy for generations to come.”

Following the event, Blen Hailu, CEO & Co-founder of startup Kabba Transport, commented. “Incredible experience at the Ethiopian Startup Awards by Global Startup Awards Africa! The energy was amazing, and the sessions were packed with valuable insights, from AI-powered ideation to securing startup funding. It was truly a hub of innovation and inspiration.”

HE Muferihat Kamil remarked, “October’s GSA Africa Summit 2024 will not just be about Ethiopia but about our African brothers and sisters. It will allow us as Africans to join the worldwide competition as one body, as one Africa.” She added, “The Ethiopian government firmly believes in these principles, and this platform [GSA] serves to make them applicable.”

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