ADDIS ABABA (March 28, 2015) – Five of Ethiopia’s most promising social entrepreneurs are about to make big changes that will solve issues faced by some of the country’s most vulnerable women, youth and children.
Tesfanesh Tadesse, Fassika Fikre, Metasebia Mammo, Dejene Adem and Abel Hailegiorgis, are the first five Change Leaders to be supported by Reach for Change’s Incubator program in Ethiopia, after having won a rigorous innovation competition last month. In the Incubator, the Change Leaders have access to trainings in business, finance, communications and strategic planning as well as mentorship, and access to a global network of social entrepreneurs and investors. They also receive financial support to develop, grow and scale their innovations to positively impact the lives of as many Ethiopians as possible.
Reach for Change’s Ethiopia Country Manager Anna Chojnicka said she is thrilled about welcoming the five into Ethiopia’s first-ever social enterprise Incubator.
“We’re incredibly excited to be launching this program in Addis Ababa, especially with such a strong first group of social entrepreneurs to work with,” Chojnicka said. “Their ideas have the potential to achieve lasting change for women and children, and we’re looking forward to helping them develop these ideas into strong, social enterprises with the potential to scale across Ethiopia.”
The five Change Leaders were selected from a pool of 20 exceptional Ethiopian social entrepreneurs who took part in Reach for Change’s 6-month Accelerator program, which provided seed funding and additional support to pilot their ideas through leadership workshops, business development, expansion strategies and more. The Accelerator participants pitched to a jury panel comprising notable experts in the social and business sectors who selected the top five.
The selected Change Leaders provide fresh solutions for social challenges They support women, children and youth to be socio-economically empowered, have increased access to health services, parenting trainings and greater independence and accessibility for those with disabilities.
Abel Hailegiorgis designs and builds innovative wheelchairs made out of bamboo which are vastly cheaper than any other wheelchair available in Ethiopia.
Dejene Adem supports economically disadvantaged women in urban areas through vertical farming. Women can grow and sell fresh vegetables safely without polluted water, using a strong, easily portable and cost effective bamboo frame.
Metasebia Mammo helps children grow into confident, resilient adults who are more likely to succeed by improving relationships and understanding between parents and children through parenting trainings.
Tesfanesh Tadesse supports a particularly vulnerable and largely ignored group, teenage mothers and street mothers who have no access to employment or health services, by providing counselling, vocational training and employment.
Finally, Fassika Fikre reduces Ethiopia’s high maternal and infant mortality rate using mobile technology, providing timely and relevant information to pregnant women using an SMS application that works on any mobile phone.
Change Leaders are supported through the Incubator program for one year and are assessed each year to determine their eligibility for extension in the program for another year. The Incubator enables them to achieve large-scale systemic change, social impact and scalability at a national level and to develop a sustainable financial plan.
About Reach for Change
Reach for Change Africa is a non-profit organization that invests in innovative, early-stage social entrepreneurs who are addressing problems faced by children, youth and women in seven countries across the continent. Reach for Change runs innovation competitions and provides Accelerator and Incubator programs to exceptional social entrepreneurs who are supported to scale their innovations through funding, access to technical and organizational management expertise, and networking opportunities. Reach for Change Africa is a part of the global organization Reach for Change which operates in 17 countries worldwide.
Reach for Change was officially launched in Ethiopia in August 2015 with a highly popular Accelerator program that received 160 applications from prospective social entrepreneurs seeking business development support. The Accelerator program ran for 6 months and culminated in a pitch day to select the top five social entrepreneurs who are now Change Leaders in the Reach for Change Incubator program.
To learn more about Reach for Change in Ethiopia, visit ethiopia.reachforchange.org .