Iceaddis lays claim to being Ethiopia’s ﬁrst tech startup incubator. Established in May 2011, it facilitates technological innovations, creative projects, and support for nascent startups.
This innovation hub, which also provides young entrepreneurs and visiting creatives with professional support and consultancy, celebrated its 10-year anniversary together with global tech company Huawei.
Addressing the event launch, Markos Lemma, the founder and CEO of iceaddis, and Ji Hui, Huawei’s regional vice president, said the joint event showed the possibilities behind ecosystem development in Ethiopia.
Zhang Bowen, Deputy Director of Public Relations for Huawei, explained the reasoning: “The ecosystem starts from talent cultivation and becomes industrial innovation. Huawei and iceaddis will collectively strengthen the entire value chain of innovation.”
Asked to explain iceaddis to a layperson, Mr. Lemma responded: “Iceaddis has been offering a place for exchange, work, and support to innovative projects that are related to local demands and development.
“Young startup founders are using the iceaddis facilities, enabling them to connect to talent, skills, and capital to kick off their ventures as well as connecting with the wider iceaddis’ community.
“Corporates, educational institutes, government organizations, NGOs and local companies are also getting involved in iceaddis’ creative community to generate and execute new ideas for their service or develop and test projects.”
He went on: “Now this joint boost is aimed to facilitate creative potential, testing uncommon ideas and experimenting with prototypes to ﬁnd market-product ﬁt, as well as complex problem solving through a co-simplicity model.
“Also, it has a great impact in the growth of a collaborative mindset, and in encouraging the potential of the young technology community and enabling active participation in changing their local environment and gaining economic empowerment.”
Dr. Eyob Tekalign, the State Minister of Finance, told the gathering that while the last ten years have been tough for the startup ecosystem, the next decade promised to be exciting with future investment.
He stated that the government was ready to support the startup community more and that the new telecom license is an important step since it will open competition that might bring quality service at competitive prices.
Dr. Ahmedin M. Ahmed, the State Minister of Innovation & Technology, explained that the Ethiopian government is working to establish a system that positively responds to the ﬁnancial, legal and technical challenges that entrepreneurs face.
He said, “on behalf of my government and my ministry I assure you that we are adding governmental support to the ecosystem as fuel to the ﬁre.”
Four panel discussions were held at the one-day event, taking on topics such as the role of startups in Ethiopia, investment readiness, emerging tech, and AI.
In growing the Ethiopian tech ecosystem the joint supports the growth of the Ethiopian technological-based entrepreneurship ecosystem through technology community development, co-creation, and public engagement. It will even take steps in promoting African innovation globally, by working closely with regional networks and international networks to promote the work of innovative startups, as well as establishing partnerships with international business competitions and networking activities.
In closing of the ceremony, Icesddis inaugurated its new branch Icehawassa.
Huawei Company announced at the event that it would organize ICT competitions for young talents under the framework of ICT Academy. Students are required to register online and take courses to better prepare them for the competition