GrowthAfrica is getting ready to brew entrepreneurial success in Ethiopia. It is expanding its startup programmes from tea powerhouse Kenya to the land that is widely credited with the discovery of coffee. Energized by new regulations and incentivized foreign investments, the country´s entrepreneurship scene is bustling. GrowthAfrica wants to proactively contribute to the development of successful Ethiopian ventures.
Over the last decade, Ethiopia has undergone an economic transformation that makes it a promising source of economic opportunities. According to the World Bank, Ethiopia is Africa’s fastest growing economy with predictions of a 10.5% GDP growth rate in 2016. While its economy is still mostly agriculture based, the government has recently made considerable progress in strengthening the capacity of the private sector and improved laws to encourage foreign direct investments.
Ethiopia, Africa’s largest coffee exporter, wheat producer, holder of the largest livestock population and soon home to the largest hydroelectric power plant in the continent, has been attracting GrowthAfrica’s attention for a while. In 2014 while working with a number of individual business clients in the country, GrowthAfrica got its first glimpse into an unfolding economic success story. Through initial discussions with Ethiopian business owners and industry stakeholders, it became clear early on that Ethiopia and the Ethiopian people would provide a great platform for partnerships and collaborations – a fantastic starting point to boost the still developing Ethiopian startup ecosystem through GrowthAfrica’s cohort based acceleration programmes.
Market opportunities breed space for entrepreneurship and conversations with the then two startup hubs reinforced the impression of the early stage opportunities that Ethiopia offers as well as the challenges to consider. Finding the right in-market partner with an understanding of the local market and network to key stakeholders is as essential in Ethiopia as any other African market. Following further dialogue, a partnership was formed with iceaddis, an Ethiopian startup hub with a great resource base and a solid reputation in the local market. GrowthAfrica sees a lot of opportunities across all sectors but are particularly excited to work with the agriculture and ICT sectors within the budding entrepreneurial sphere in Ethiopia.
We strategically support high-impact, high-growth businesses that innovatively contribute to Africa’s social and economic progress in different sectors through cohort-based programmes, strategic advice and access to funding. We have been working in Africa and with African entrepreneurs since the early 2002 and have extensive networks and market insights into the African continent.
The first innovation and co-creation center in Ethiopia established in May 2011. It works on youth-driven private sector initiatives and facilitate interaction between technologists, entrepreneurs, designers, investors, academia and change agents in Ethiopia. iceaddis offers a place for exchange, work and the support for innovative project ideas related to local demands for development.