Innovation Breakfast Dialogues on Entrepreneurship

Dec 10, 2014

Amare Assefa and Dawit Habtu of KeNefas presenting on their micro wind turbine as a green technology alternative to promote access to electricity in Ethiopia

The Entrepreneurship Development Centre (EDC) hosted its quarterly Innovation for Development breakfast meeting in Addis Ababa today bringing together partners from the public and private sector who are working around the areas of entrepreneurship.

EDC was set up to implement Ethiopia’s Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP), which was launched by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn back in February 2013. The EDP is a programme developed by UNDP and the Ministry of Urban Development, Housing and Construction, and implemented on the ground by EDC with the support of the Federal Micro and Small Enterprise Development Agency (FeMSEDA). The Government of Canada and Microsoft East Africa Ltd have recently come on partnered with UNDP to support the EDP.

“All modern economies rely on innovation and entrepreneurship,” said UNDP Ethiopia’s Senior Economic Advisor, James Wakiaga, in his opening statement setting the stage for a half day of intense dialogue.

Presentations were made on research papers on innovation and microenterprise growth in six of the major cities in Ethiopia by Dr. Mulu Gebreyesus, a researcher at the semi-autonomous government development research institute, the Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI).

Findings shared by the researcher included innovation variables such as that female led enterprises were less likely to innovate due to being more family-oriented and aversion to risks as well as facing more constraints than their male counterparts. Other variables were that technical education had more importance when it came to innovation than did access to general education. Young firms were also said to be more likely to innovate than older firms. The same was to be true of young entrepreneurs as opposed to older entrepreneurs.  

The paper also indicated that small firms in developing countries had a more closed nature of knowledge systems and relied on local networks than did counterparts in more developed countries.

Presenting on behalf of the Ministry of Science and Technology, Mr. Desta Abera walked the participants through Ethiopia’s Innovation Policy and Strategy, which sought to create a technology transfer framework that promoted learning, adaptation and utilization of effective foreign technologies by the country by 2022/23. The strategies pushed forward by the policy included supporting medium and large enterprises to be focal points for research, learning and transfer of technology transfer.

Innovators were also on hand to talk about the ideas and passion behind their new initiatives in the area of green technology. 

Innovation that doesn’t help people is useless according to Mr. Markos Lemma, chairperson the newly formed national chapter of the International Network of Social Innovators for Human Development (INSIHD). The INSIHD was set up globally by UNDP to help address current challenges that practitioners are facing today through trying to harness the potential of mobile technologies for human development. UNDP has recently entered into a partnership with Motorola Solutions to promote social innovators around mobile technologies. 

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