Applications Open for Ethiopia Startup Innovation Pitch

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Ministry of Innovation and Technology of Ethiopia (MinT) are pleased to announce the “Ethiopia Startup Innovation Pitch” for investors and companies from Japan, Europe, US, and Ethiopia, as well as anyone interested in Africa. 8 representative Ethiopian startups, selected from 114 companies, will present their pitches to show the attractiveness of Ethiopian startups to the world.

Pitches will be open to all participants, and your vote on the day of the event will determine the winner! We look forward to your participation. 

[Please register here (English) ]

[Please register here (Japanese)]

Ethiopia’s tech market is attracting global attention

As digital transformation (DX) accelerates worldwide, new businesses utilizing African technology are attracting attention, and investment from Europe and the U.S. is increasing as they focus on the potential market. With a population of 112 million, Ethiopia is a market large enough for startups to develop their businesses. The country is full of potential, with little competition for companies, while market growth is expected to be significant as the country transitions to a digital economy due to the recent easing of the telecommunications environment and policies aimed at expanding the digital economy.


– Name: Ethiopia Startup Innovation Pitch

– Co-organizers: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Ministry of Innovation and Technology of Ethiopia (MinT)

– Date & Time: Friday, December 9, 2022, 11:00am-1:00pm (EAT)

11:00 Opening remarks
11:10 Lecture on Startups in Africa and EthiopiaLecture 1: Positioning and Significance of Investment in Africa for Japan and Investment Trends

Lecture 2: Potential of Reverse Innovation, Case Study of Ethiopia

Lecture 3: Attractiveness of the startup market from the Ethiopian government’s perspective

11:25 Pitches by 8 Ethiopian startups and judgingThe startups will be divided into two groups for pitching and judging. Please refer to the “Speakers” section below to learn more about the startups who will be pitching, and please use the “Ask a Question” function on Zoom to participate in the Q&A session.

-11:25 Group 1 (4 companies) Pitches, Q&A and comments from the judges

-12:00 Pitches by Group 2 (4 companies), Q&A, comments by judges

12:35 Viewing participants choose! Determination of the Outstanding Startup AwardWe invite everyone who watched the pitches to cast their votes using ZOOM’s “Vote” function.
12:55 Closing remarks



Mr. Tigabu Haile – CEO, Eshi Express

Eshi Express is a flexible logistics business that utilizes jobless youth human resources and public transportation. The company has realized flexible delivery times (same-day and next-day delivery) and hassle-free logistics services (consolidation and optimization), which were previously unavailable in Ethiopia, and has encouraged the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises.

Mr. Daniel Getachew – CEO, Guzo Technologies PLC

Founded an IT and media company specializing in XR services and IoT solutions and Web 3.0. He has also developed EpicGames, a game about Ethiopia’s cultural heritage, and has worked in the tourism and EdTech industries, not only in Ethiopia, but also in the DRC, Nigeria, and a wide range of other regions. 

Ms. Betelhem Fikre – COO, Leading Edge Trading PLC (Zafree Papers )

Zafree Papers develops clean-tech paper solutions by using agricultural waste to produce 100% wood-free pulp, paper, and paper products (100% tree-free, unbleached paper pulp). The goal of the project is to provide a solution to deforestation and to change the domestic paper industry in Ethiopia, which is low quality and high price due to lack of foreign currency, funds, and raw materials.

Mr Leoul Mekonnen Tsehay – CEO, Infinity Technology PLC

Hulugram is a chat-based social engagement platform similar to LINE that connects 30 million Internet users in Ethiopia. A single app for communication, ride calling, shopping, bill payment, wallet, and third-party mini-application platform usage.

Mr. Tigabu Abriham Sumamo – CEO, Omishtu-Joy Agtech Engineering

Omitshu-Joy AgtechEnginnering was established as a private limited company (PLC) by engineering and agricultural professionals to provide digital services to Ethiopian farmers. The company will provide consulting services to farmers on soil and crop matching, leveraging the manufacture of soil testing equipment that can find the right crop and fertilizer by testing the soil. 

Ms Mastewal Yohannes Agonafir – Product leader, Taskmoby

Provides Ethiopia’s first digital market environment that connects customers with home service providers such as repair technicians, childcare and housekeeping, and other services through a mobile app and a dedicated call center (#8191). The project will contribute to job creation in Ethiopia by providing training to the many young men and women who are unemployed despite their skills.

Mr Abiye Tadeos – CEO, Anabi Agritech Solutions PLC

Produces and markets AI-based smart apiary management bee products that contribute to honey productivity. Aiming to promote solutions to the lack of pollination and forage, which is a challenge for honey production worldwide.

Mr Abrhame Endrias – Green Agro Solution PLC – Lersha

A digital platform business that improves farmers’ productivity. Expanding into 5 regions of Ethiopia including Somalia region, currently employing 642 Lersha agents and reaching 71,000 smallholder farmers.


Mr. Haile, Selamyhun Adefris

Ministry of Innovation and Technology of Ethiopia, Directore General Innovation Developmet and Research

Mr. Haile is the Director General of the Ministry of Innovation and Technology of Ethiopia, where he is involved in policy development, implementation, and program execution related to startup support in Ethiopia.

Mr. Shigeru Handa

Director, AAIC Investment Pte.

Background: Mr. Handa has been a Director at AAIC Investment since 2015, where he is in charge of sourcing, DD, and execution of startup investments in VC firms for Africa. After investment, he supports the portfolio company’s expansion to other countries and fundraising as a board member and mentor. In addition, he has been involved in the implementation of acceleration programs with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Africa and Eastern Europe to discover and support the growth of startups. She also assists Japanese companies in business matching with startups in emerging countries and business development in global health.

Ms. Sachiko Hara 

JICA Expert on Startup Ecosystem Development

Ms. Hara has worked on projects to support entrepreneurs and SMEs in Africa in JICA’s Economic Development Division. Currently, she is working with the Ministry of Innovation and Technology (MinT) in Ethiopia to support startup ecosystem development. He is also involved in acceleration programs, innovation human resource development support, and startup-related training for government/local startup support organizations.

[Please register here (English) ]

[Please register here (Japanese)]

Special Prize

We are looking for companies/organizations that can offer “special awards” (e.g., permission to use their services for a certain period, provision of equipment, consideration of business tie-ups, consideration of research commissions, investment, grants, etc.) to the companies that will be speaking at the event. For more information, please visit our website.


Japan International Cooperation Agency

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