The U.S. Department of State gathered a group of private sector representatives to explore investment and collaborative business opportunities in Ethiopia, during the Global Entrepreneurship Week.
A week was spent by the Partnership Opportunity Delegation (POD) engaging with government leaders, private sector entities and Ethiopian entrepreneurs to understand the challenges and opportunities facing Ethiopian innovators and share expertise on how the country can better provide an enabling environment for tech and startups. The delegation included more than 15 companies representing Japan, United States and Sweden.
The Office of Global Partnerships led the POD in exploring opportunities in various sectors of the Ethiopian economy such as digital connectivity, Fintech, creative industry and startups. From these first-hand engagements, several delegates committed to supporting Ethiopia’s economy in tangible ways through workforce development, social entrepreneurship, startup investment, exploring opportunities for telecom privatization and mentorship training.
The week consisted of two events recognizing Ethiopian startups and entrepreneurs. The first was the Africa Fintech Summit which brought together over 400 attendees to recognize excellence in entrepreneurship and innovation across the African continent. From the summit, POD members learnt more about the opportunities and risks of the Ethiopian economic ecosystem.
P!tch Ethiop!a, an entrepreneurial pitch competition for seven Ethiopian startups followed, which was a partnership between the Department of State, Microsoft, Google, Pegasus Ventures Startup World Cup and the Africa Fintech Summit.
Both POD and the P!tch Ehiop!a competition are an extension of the Department of State’s active support for historic economic reforms in Ethiopia. The programs forged strong partnerships and networks which will lead to the growth and economic prosperity of the region. Delegates began making commitments to engage further with Ethiopia such as the Amazon Web Services’ activation of technology credits for all seven finalists of P!tch Ehiop!a, the Ministry of Science and Higher
Education partnered with Santa Clara University’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship to include social entrepreneurship methodology into four Ethiopian Universities curriculums and pledge by Opportunity International to host their Africa Regional Conference in Addis Ababa on January 27, 2020.