Three Ethiopian entrepreneurs, a young woman, and man as well as a seasoned entrepreneur received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award on Thursday 16 November 2017 as Ethiopia joins this year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) celebrations under the theme ‘Entrepreneurship Creates Jobs’ by rolling out a series of events nationwide targeting over 150 thousand people across the country.
This is the seventh time that Ethiopia is celebrating this global event which is expected to provide a platform for the private sector, high school, and university students, policymakers as well as other stakeholders to interact around the opportunities and challenges of entrepreneurship in the country.
The 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Week will be held from 13th to 19th November and is hosted in Ethiopia by the Entrepreneurship Development Centre (EDC-Ethiopia). Over 500 entrepreneurs are expected to be reached daily during the 2017 GEW celebration through a series of interventions such customized entrepreneurship training and accessing business advisory services at the EDC-Ethiopia’s headquarters in Addis Ababa as well as its regional offices located in Oromia, Amhara, SNNPR, and Tigray.
Moreover, some 150,000 high school students, currently enrolled in some 1,180 public schools across the country, will also have access to entrepreneurship information to spark their entrepreneurial spirit. This initiative was made possible through a partnership between EDC-Ethiopia, the Ministry of Education and the Ethiopian Educational Information and Communication Center.
The EDC was set up in 2013 by the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing (MoUDH) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to implement an Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP) for Ethiopia. UNDP is investing in its flagship Entrepreneurship Development Programme, launched by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in early 2013, to help Ethiopia unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of its people, particularly women and youth, to accelerate inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
Note to editors:
- The Global Entrepreneurship Week celebrations for 2017 will close with a special event honoring young entrepreneurs with the Seasoned Entrepreneur of the Year and Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards.The event will be held on 16 November 2017 at Hilton Hotel Addis Ababa at 4.00 pm. Media interested in attending this event should email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Over 160 countries globally, 35 of which are in Africa, are celebrating the 2017 Global Entrepreneurship Week.
- Since its launch in 2013, the Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP), through the EDC, has trained over 54,000 existing and aspiring Ethiopian entrepreneurs providing them with entrepreneurial skills. Over 8,600 enterprises have received business development advisory services.
Winner of Young Female Entrepreneur of the Year 2017
Meron Seid is the founder and director of Meron Leather Exotica, an emerging high-quality leather product company based in Addis Ababa. She started her business in 2010 with just one sewing machine. But today her business expanded in quality, diversity and creativity employing more than 20 youth.
Meron’s passion and hard work coupled with the right entrepreneurial mindset and personal integrity are the secrets for her success.
Her products are already making their ways to 5 European and Asian countries. She is also working with international research and development institutions towards introducing Ethiopia’s unique leather product brand.
Winner of Young Male Entrepreneur of the Year Award
Alebachew Mihirete, started his business, Alebachew and Mastewal Weaving, with the aim of improving his income by investing in the untapped cultural clothes production industry.
He established the business with a capital of just 6,000 Birr in Bahirdar then expanded it to Addis Ababa and Arbaminch. Initially, his products were limited to traditional Ethiopian cultural clothes called ‘Gabi’ and ‘Netela’ but through time he expanded his production capacity and diversity.
Alebachew’s company is now exporting up to 300 cultural dresses weekly to the United States and Israel with the capital of 17 million Br employing more than 460 people.
Alebachew is very grateful for the support that he got from different entities including Entrepreneurship Development Center. He often says, “I am what I am today because I smartly used the opportunities available for entrepreneurs properly.”
Winner of Seasoned Entrepreneur of the Year Award
Ato Belete Beyene, owner of Bless Agri Food Laboratory Services Plc and HILINA Enriched Foods, quitted his pilot training school to join Addis Ababa University Business School to pursue his dream as an entrepreneur.
He started his first business after he was forced to leave his job at the FAFA Food Complex in 1992. He was able to commence his own business in the food sector along with his wife and his two friends. Within 3 years, he secured a land around Kality area in Addis Ababa and established TENA FOOD factory.
In 2000, when the Aseb iodized Salt Mixing Factory closed, he established iodized salt manufacturing factory and solved the supply problem in the country. Overall, Ato Belete established 3 companies and a laboratory within 17 years since 1993. Currently, HILINA Enriched Foods and Bless Agri-Food Laboratory Services PLC are the core companies he is working on.
HILINA Enriched Foods was established in 2006 to undertake the manufacturing of food products to combat the various forms of malnutrition and other micronutrient deficiencies affecting children and other vulnerable groups. Bless Agri-Food Laboratory Services PLC has also become the first accredited private food laboratory in the country providing a wide variety of microbiological, chemical and physical tests on food products.
One of the factors contributing for Ato Belete’s success is his strong desire to excel through hard work.