blueMoon, Ethiopia’s first youth agribusiness incubator, today announced the results of its National Competition to select the top six youth agribusiness startup teams for its first incubator program batch, #BegaBatch17, that will start in February 2017.
“We selected 6 startup co-founder teams out of 122 applicants to our Call for Applications in early December, or a 4.9 % acceptance rate, which means it is already more difficult to get into our program than into Harvard or Stanford University,” stated Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin, founder and ceo of blueMoon, “it was an amazing and humbling experience to see the talent and energy coming out of Ethiopia’s youth today. As we had hoped, we got applicants across a broad range of agri-related businesses and from across Ethiopia, from Bahir Dar to Jimma to Benishangul-Gumuz to Jijiga to Hawassa, with ideas for various types of agro-industrial processing, solar, transport, IT services, equipment innovations, agriculture waste uses, marketing, production, and more. I learned so much just from going through the applications.”
The six applications selected went through four rounds of evaluation, assessing basic eligibility, the content of the idea with respect to innovativeness, scalability, transformational potential, and commercial viability, then screening for commitment and fit with the program modality, ending with Game Day! on Saturday, January 21, a full day evaluation in which the final 25 applicant teams were invited to an innovative game in Shiro Meda and Entoto which tested their creativity, confidence, passion, coachability, resourcefulness, emotional intelligence, humility, and problem-solving. The applicants were assessed by the blueMoon team as well as invited blueMoon partners, including DOT Ethiopia, R&D Group, and Mowgli Foundation (UK). In addition, blueMoon invited a well-known youth agricultural entrepreneur from Kenya, 25 year-old Rita Kimani, co-founder of FarmDrive, to join the panel of evaluators. “We find blueMoon’s approach exceptional and the dedication of its team to this venture to be very professional and innovative, from our experience of 9 years working with business incubators around the world, and we are delighted to provide mentorship development as a partner to blueMoon,” stated Kat Bury, CEO of Mowgli Foundation.
The 6 Youth Agribusinesses selected are:
(1) Solar fruits and vegetable drying (co-founders: Kaleb Bahru, Yetemgeta Fantu);
(2) Energy-saving pellets from agricultural waste (Abenezer Sileshi, Amdetsion Masresha, Anteneh Hailu);
(3) Virtual agri-management system (Barnabas Solomon Belete, Habtamu Kapital Kazero, Kaleb Gigar Tesfaye);
(4) Agricultural waste for composite building materials (Endalkachew Fentahun, Aliaf Atnafu);
(5) Gebeya-Net mobile marketplace (Christian Tesfaye, Henok Tadesse);
(6) Bio-organic fertilizer production (Biruk Girma, Biniyam Wendwesen, Birhane Abrhaley).
The 4- month blueMoon incubator program will kick off on February 1 through May 31, 2017.