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Inclusion Japan (ICJ), a Tokyo-based venture capital firm, and Kazana Group, an Ethiopian-based holding company, have announced the launch of their 3rd round of open pitch competition for startups in Ethiopia.

The competition, scheduled to be hosted at the ALX Tech Hub on August 15, 2023, provides local entrepreneurs with a chance to secure funding and future investment opportunities.

As part of this initiative, ICJ and Kazana Group will offer a cash prize of 100,000 Birr to the winning company. Additionally, the winning startup will have the potential to receive up to $500,000 in future investments from ICJ.

Start-ups looking to participate in the competition must submit a 10-minute pitch video showcasing their ideas and business model by August 7th, 2023, to the email address: [email protected].

The pitch video should include the following elements: (1) Problem; (2) Solution; (3) Business Model; (4) Market; (5) Competitors, Competitive Advantage; (6) Business Plan; and (7) Team.

ICJ will select six eligible companies to participate in the pitch competition and selected teams will have the opportunity to interact with senior executives from ICJ and Kazana Group.

ALX, a leading technology training provider in Ethiopia, is partnering with ICJ and Kazana Group to host the event. ALX aims to equip young African professionals with in-demand technology and professional skills to excel in the digital economy. Supported by the Mastercard Foundation and The ROOM, ALX has a vision to empower two million young professionals to become tech-fluent leaders, driving Africa’s progress in the 4th Industrial Revolution.

“We at Kazana Group are always excited to work with ICJ and the team; we’re both after the same endgame, which is the development of the startup ecosystem in Ethiopia and Africa. We would like to thank ALX and the team for hosting our event this year,” said Addis Alemayehou, Group CEO of Kazana Group.

ICJ has already demonstrated its commitment to Ethiopia’s startup scene by investing a total of $3 million in Ethiopian start-ups, including successful ventures like Gebeya and Goodayon.

“Since our first visit to Ethiopia in August 2022, ICJ has remained true to our promise to visit Ethiopia every three months and provide investment opportunities in startups. Dodai, an electric two-wheeler company in which we have invested in Ethiopia, was featured in the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Japan’s largest economic newspaper, and investors other than ICJ in Japan are now paying a great deal of attention to Ethiopia,” said Yasuhiro Yoshizawa, founder and chief investment officer of ICJ, in a statement to Shega.

Yasuhiro added that besides participating companies, talented young people should witness this event and come up with new business ideas for the next round and beyond.

For those interested in witnessing the pitch competition, ALX is offering spectatorship opportunities through a lottery system. Those eager to attend the event must apply by August 10th using the following link:

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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.