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The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Ministry of Innovation and Technology of Ethiopia (MinT) are inviting investors and companies from Japan and around the world to attend a pitch event, where 15 Ethiopian startups will showcase their best ideas in hopes of winning a cash prize of 500,000 birr and a business trip to Japan.

The event, scheduled for Wednesday, March 8th, 2023, aims to support outstanding startups that solve social problems and contribute significantly to economic growth and employment in Ethiopia.

Titled Ethiopia NINJA Acceleration Final Pitch, the event will feature startups that have passed the first and second rounds of selection from approximately 100 companies that applied to the NINJA Acceleration Program in Ethiopia 2022.

The virtual event is set to take place from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. (EAT) and 3 p.m.–7 p.m. (JPT) and the final six companies selected will participate in a ten-month Acceleration Program, receiving cash prizes and four months of business development training. They will also participate in a training program in Japan in the summer of 2023.

As part of Project NINJA (Next Innovation with Japan), a call for applications for the acceleration program was issued in December 2022, and 31 startups were selected in the first round from approximately 100 that applied. In January 2023, the 31 companies participated in a one-week training program, and Renew Capital, an investment firm active in Africa and headquartered in Ethiopia, gave lectures on everything from startup success secrets to finance and pitching training. Investors advised on each company’s pitch, and entrepreneurs actively asked questions. Fifteen companies were finally selected for the second round of selection in February 2023.

With a population of around 112 million, Ethiopia is a market large enough for startups to develop their businesses. The country is full of potential, with little competition for companies, while market growth is expected to be significant as the country transitions to a digital economy due to the recent easing of the telecommunications environment and policies aimed at expanding the digital economy.

Click here to register for the Ethiopia Startup Innovation Pitch Event.


Meet the 15 startups that will be pitching at the NINJA Acceleration Final Pitch event:

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