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Innovating a Global Africa: Global Startup Awards Africa Summit embeds innovation across startup nations

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The upcoming Global Startup Award (GSA) Africa Summit, scheduled from 25-27 October at the Ethiopia Arts & Science Museum in Addis Ababa, is a monumental occasion for Ethiopia, a potential-laden country, signalling a significant milestone in the country’s entrepreneurial journey.

As we enter the Decade of Action, the GSA Africa platform seeks to showcase African world-changing innovation through a Sustainable Development Goal-aligned lens on the global and local stage. 

Her Excellency, Ms Muferihat Kamil, Minister of Labour and Skills of Ethiopia will make an address on the first day of the summit. “Job creation and youth employment are crucial for the ongoing economic development of Ethiopia. Given the presence of a sizable young population eager to contribute, it is highly important to support entrepreneurship and the establishment of startups. These efforts strongly align with the objectives of the Ministry, which aims to promote job growth, enhance the quality of work, and foster an inclusive labour market.”

Her Excellency continues, “The Ministry acknowledges that innovation and technology-driven entrepreneurship will play a pivotal role in Ethiopia’s future workforce. By creating an enabling environment and a supportive ecosystem, backing startups can generate new economic opportunities and sustainable livelihoods for young individuals.”

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The Ministry of Labour and Skills commends the dynamic nature and potential of Ethiopia’s startup community. Events like the Global Startup Awards Africa Summit serve to highlight outstanding entrepreneurs and connect them with networks and resources to expand their impact. The Ministry aims to be a champion and partner with startups that tackle Ethiopia’s most pressing economic and social challenges.

 

His Excellency, Dr. Belete Molla, Minister of Innovation and Technology, will also make an address at the summit and elaborate on the Ethiopian Homegrown Economic Reform Plan [HGER 2.0]. “The HGER 2.0 considers Youth and Innovation Driven Entrepreneurship (startups) as a powerful tool to drive economic progress and uplift our society. We aim to create an ecosystem that empowers startups to turn their ideas into a reality. With the revised national Science, Technology and Innovation policy, the Startup Act and Innovation Fund law, the upcoming National Ethiopian Startup initiative and the Addis Ababa Startups City Programme, the Ethiopian startup ecosystem has begun experiencing positive change. And, the energy and creativity of our startup community has started contributing to our nation’s economic growth and improved our position in the global sphere.”

His Excellency adds, “Africa, with its rich diversity and immense resources, is home to a growing population of young, talented minds who are eager to harness the power of technology and innovation-driven entrepreneurship to drive positive social, environmental and economic change. Hosting the Global Startup Awards Africa Summit accelerates the national startup ecosystem to rapidly connect to the global ecosystem.”

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“We believe our African innovators are the next generation of leaders who can serve as continental and national assets to inspire the mobilisation of youth nations and leaders into the innovation economy and global readiness,”  says Jo Griffiths, co-founder of the Global Innovation Initiative Group (GIIG), the exclusive rights holder to GSA Africa.

The winners’ journeys are tracked as demonstratable innovation to evidence the urgent need and opportunity to provide ‘real-world, tangible implementation’ and build new markets. The summit brings innovation learnings, case studies, insights, and aspirations together from a multi-country perspective to build innovation-based economies. 

Just over 8,200 entries from 54 African countries were received this year, narrowing down to 71 regional winners across Africa. The event’s highlight, the awards ceremony, scheduled for 26 October at Friendship Park, will welcome GSA Africa’s extensive stakeholder network, including startups, government delegations, and like-minded investors. The final winners across 15 SDG-aligned categories will be recognised during this grand event. 

The Summit has been made possible through a collaborative partnership between the Ethiopian Ministry of Labour and Skills (MOLS), the Ethiopian Ministry of Innovation and Technology (MInT), the Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI-Ethiopia) and GIIG.

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A snapshot of the Summit’s programme:

Ethiopia Art and Science Museum:

Day 1: Innovating a Global Africa

Day 2: 

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  – Morning/Afternoon: Fast Track to Internationalisation and Market Access 

  – Evening: Awards ceremony at Friendship Park

ALX Ethiopia:

Day 3: 

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  – Startup masterclasses 

  – Networking

  – Pitching 

  – Investor meetings

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To date, speakers scheduled to appear at the event include:

  • H.E. Muferihat Kamil, Minister for the Ethiopian Ministry of Skills and Labour 
  • H.E. Dr. Belete Molla Getahun, Minister for the Ethiopian Ministry of Innovation and Technology
  • Dr Hassan Hussien, CEO of the Entrepreneurship Development Institute (Ethiopia)
  • Jo Griffiths, GIIG Co-founder (South Africa)
  • Caitlin Nash, GIIG and Loudhailer Co-founder (South Africa)
  • Adebayo Adekola, Head of Innovation Portfolios and Governance at UNICEF Ethiopia (Denmark)
  • Gizachew Sisay, Team Lead Ethiopia at the United Nations Development Programme (Ethiopia)
  • Kidus Asfaw, CEO and Co-Founder of Kubik (Ethiopia)
  • Kim Balle, Founder of Global Startup Awards (Denmark)
  • Lucy Setian, Director of Digital Transformation at Novartis Foundation (Switzerland)
  • Mandi Swanepoel, Health Tech Ecosystem Manager at Wesgro Health (South Africa)
  • Prof. Sumarie Roodt, Co-founder of Noosi Health (South Africa)
  • Ryan Marinkowitz, Founder My1Health Africa (Kenya)
  • Sean Branagan, Director of the Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship from S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University (USA)
  • Seid Abdella, Tax Partner, Grant Thornton (Ethiopia)
  • Simon Davis, Chief Commercial Officer at ScarabTECH (USA)
  • Talya Shalev, Business Account Manager at WRAP (UK)

As an essential update, the Summit’s attendee limit of 400 has been met. There is a waitlist option which can be found here. Tables for the awards ceremony on 26 October are limited. Please send enquiries to [email protected] 

The Summit acknowledges its partners, including UNICEF Ethiopia, Grant Thornton Ethiopia, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Wesgro Health and The Loudhailer.

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