Israel, which has one of the world’s most innovative and robust startup ecosystems, is lending a hand to the innovation ecosystem of Ethiopia.
The Israeli government plans to boost the Ethiopian innovative and startup scene with plans to engage with startups and expropriate lessons from Israel, which has earned the nickname “Startup Nation”.
In cooperation with the Minister of Innovation and Technology, the Israel Embassy in Ethiopia launched the first Ethio-Israel Innovation Month this week.
The event, which will be held annually, covers presentations and workshops for a better understanding of the innovation systems of Ethiopia and Israel, understanding the issues and challenges in the innovation ecosystem of Ethiopia, and designing future cooperation between the two countries.
Israel has more than 6,000 active startups making it the world leader for startups per capita.
Recently, with the increase of unicorns (companies worth more than $1 billion) reaching even bigger heights with 48 new unicorns coming into existence in 2021 as well as R&D centers of multinational corporations, Israel is transforming to become the “Scale-Up Nation.”
Figures for venture capital funding in Israel once again exploded in 2021, with high-tech startups in the country raising a total of $26.6 billion, which far eclipses the figure of $9.5 billion raised by these companies in 2020.
Oren Simanian, a key figure in the Israeli startup ecosystem, told Shega, “The idea is to create an innovation month every year between Ethiopia and Israel. It is an activity to come to Ethiopia, share knowledge and learn about the ecosystem; host government officials, entrepreneurs, academia, and other key figures from Ethiopia.”
Oren is the founder and managing director of Colosseum Sports Tech, the first Israeli sports technology innovation center that has become international.
“The next phase is for stakeholders from Ethiopia to come to Jerusalem, Israel, and experience the technology and innovation mindset of Israel,” said Oren.
He also added that the initiative from Israel aims to build sustainable and long-lasting bridges, leading to a strong partnership between Ethiopia and Israel.
“We initiated this project a year ago. It is not something we started just now and marks a great milestone. We brought experts from Israel to see the gaps that we have in the ecosystem in Ethiopia. Next week we will send two delegations to Israel: one for officials and another for startups,” Fentay Alamu, the Deputy Ambassador of Israel, told Shega.
“Ultimately, we want to inspire Ethiopia with what we have in Israel and allow their startup ecosystem players to see what they need to adapt to and change in the Ethiopian startup ecosystem,” she added.
The combination of startups participating in the program includes a variety of startups working in AgriTech, Fintech, HealthTech, and other sectors.
Nael Hailemariam, CEO and Co-Founder of Chapa; Abiy Hailu, CEO and Co-Founder of Enchawet Games; Henok Kiflom, Co-Founder and CTO of Easymed Digital Health; Yabtsega Wondmagegn, CEO and Co-Founder of Erkata Online Market, Natnael Abraham Co-Founder and CEO of Mekfeya Financial, and Abenezer Tassew Co-Founder and CEO of Tripways Technologies Technologies are some of the Ethiopian startups that are taking part in the program.