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The Ministry of Labor & Skills and the Ministry of Innovation & Technology, in collaboration with the Entrepreneurship Development Institute, UNDP, and KOICA, have unveiled the Next Ethiopian Startup (NEST) initiative, a concentrated national startup ecosystem development effort that aims to support and empower startups as a key driver of Ethiopia’s economy.

The NEST initiative, launched today, October 23, 2023, in the presence of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen and other key stakeholders, seeks to reward risk-taking behaviors, and establish a supportive environment for innovation at every stage of its lifecycle.

According to a press release received by Shega, NEST is set for nationwide implementation, spanning federal, regional, city, and woreda levels and is built on four pillars.

Through its first pillar, National Interaction, Development, and Support Platforms, NEST will focus on organizing conferences, workshops, exhibitions, and international events like the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, scheduled to be held in the capital from October 25 to 27, 2023. These initiatives aim to encourage collaboration and networking within the startup ecosystem.

Its second pillar, the National Information Management System and Engagement Framework, focuses on developing integrated information management systems that will serve as the official source of information on the innovation ecosystem. This includes information on startups and high-growth businesses, national skills levels, technology and innovation information, and intellectual property rights.

The National Innovation Competition, the third pillar, will provide a platform for diverse types of competitions in various sectors, regions, and categories such as pitch decks, city innovation, and public sector innovation.

Meanwhile, the last pillar The National Change Agents are individuals who promote transformative or innovative ways to realize national agendas. These change agents are meant to recruit, develop, and unleash the power of individuals who are passionate about the benefits of the agenda and advocate for its potential to help organizations and communities adopt change faster.

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