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Four local startups—HuluCares, CICO, Equb, and Lersha—have emerged as the winners of the first cohort of the Bimalab Ethiopia Insurtech Accelerator.

The four winners each secured a prize of $10,000 today during the BimaLab Ethiopia Demo Day, an initiative run by Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Ethiopia, following a four-month journey for the cohort, which comprised 11 startups and 4 corporates. 

BimaLab Ethiopia, implemented by FSD Ethiopia with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in collaboration with FSD Africa and the National Bank of Ethiopia, seeks to empower insurtechs and tackle the distinctive challenges confronted by the Ethiopian insurance sector.

Akofada (DFS Ethiopia)

The Demo Day showcased presentations from cohort members, where they demonstrated their solutions to investors, industry experts, and stakeholders.

Among the startups in the cohort are Omshitu-Joy, Lersha, and Imbizo, each dedicated to developing insurtech solutions tailored for farmers. ToloFix, another participant, focuses on empowering gig economy workers by providing pay-as-you-go insurance coverage, specifically catering to ride-sharing drivers, delivery personnel, and short-term rental hosts.

CICO prioritizes delivering essential financial services, including insurance, through its network of CICO (Cash In Cash Out) outlets. Tenawo aims to extend insurance coverage to healthcare workers. 

HuluCares is a startup focused on providing Community-Based Iddir Insurance. Strategy Tap, a “get insured now, pay later” platform with a credit score, and Equb app aims to embed community insurance into its next version.

Lastly, InsuretechX offers a platform enabling individuals to conveniently explore and purchase insurance policies.

Ethiopia’s insurance penetration is below one percent, and the industry is behind in terms of innovation and digital solutions. Recognizing the need for innovative insurance solutions, particularly for low-income households, BimaLab Ethiopia aims to empower startups in overcoming obstacles such as limited resources, technical expertise, and regulatory support.

“Hosting the inaugural BimaLab Ethiopia Demo Day signifies a significant milestone in our efforts to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in the insurance technology landscape,” says Abel Taddele, Financial Inclusion, Director.

The program has provided participants with invaluable mentorship, training, and resources to develop and refine their innovative Insurtech solutions.

“We are proud to partner and celebrate the achievements of the inaugural BimaLab Ethiopia cohort,” says Edom Tsegaye, Ethiopia Country Lead, Inclusive Financial Systems, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Last year, Kacha Mobile Money won a $20k prize for embedded health insurance at the Bimalab Africa Insurtech Summit in Nairobi.  


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Kaleab Girma, an Addis Ababa-based reporter and researcher, with over six years of experience in the field. He currently serves as Shega's Editor-in-Chief and specializes in reporting on small businesses, innovation, technology, and startups in Ethiopia.