The 2015 UNDP Entrepreneurship Award presented over $61,000 to seven winning Ethiopian Entrepreneurs and two runners up during a ceremony held at Sheraton Addis in the presence of His Excellency Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.
The award recognized outstanding entrepreneurs and their contribution to creating new jobs with a special focus on women and youth. It will also promote entrepreneurship as a platform for innovation and as a driving force for economic development and poverty reduction while also encouraging entrepreneurs and innovative ideas.
Opening the award ceremony, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn highlighted the need to increase employment opportunities in Ethiopia given the increasing number of graduates coming into the job market each year. “Our government has given emphasis to develop micro and small enterprises as they are the most viable means to create new employment opportunities and stimulate economic growth.”
The 2015 Entrepreneurship Award recognized entrepreneurs in seven categories that included Entrepreneur of the year, Environmental Sustainability Entrepreneur, Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Entrepreneur, Young Female Entrepreneur, Young Male entrepreneur, Rural Entrepreneur and Entrepreneurship Development Center (EDC) Start Up entrepreneur.
While reviewing over 60 applications from around the country, judges rigorously reviewed the creativity and innovation of the business, read through the business plan, and evaluated the implementation on the ground and the positive socio-economic impact that it was starting to have. Judges were drawn from Addis Ababa University, Unity University, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, ICEAddis, Embassy of Canada, Japan International Cooperation Agency, Federal Micro and Small Enterprise Development Agency (FeMSEDA), Ethiopia Chamber of Commerce, and UNDP Ethiopia’s Goodwill Ambassador for Entrepreneurship Ms. Bethlehem Tilahun who is the founder and managing director of SoleRebels.
Partnering UNDP to recognize these entrepreneurs by providing financial support for the winners were:
SoleRebels which co-sponsored the USD 10,000.00 Young Female Entrepreneur award; Tivoli Trading PLC, which sponsored the USD 5,000.00 EDC Start Up award; Foundation Green and Yesera Betachin joined to co-sponsor the USD 5,000.00 Environmental Sustainability award; while Enat Bank and Bunna-International Bank co-sponsored the USD 5,000.00 Rural Entrepreneur award. Kenya Airways provided return economy tickets to the runners up of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
The awards for Entrepreneur of the Year (USD 20,000.00), Young male Entrepreneur (USD 10,000.00), and SME Entrepreneur (USD 10,000.00) were fully sponsored by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
Source: UNDP Ethiopia