UNDP Celebrates Ethiopian Entrepreneurs through new award

Mar 5, 2015

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn opening the 2015 UNDP Entrepreneurship Award

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 and innovative entrepreneurs with a special focus on their sustainability, contribution to creating new jobs and positive impact on the community.

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 examined 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 Ethiopia 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 Programme (UNDP). 

 Kebede Lakew, who runs an organic liquid fertiliser producing company in Sululta on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, won the UNDP Entrepreneur of the Year category and took away USD 20,000.00

“Today, we are gathered to celebrate Ethiopia’s modern-age warriors, its entrepreneurs”, said Mr. Eugene Owusu, UNDP Resident Representative in his welcoming speech. “Entrepreneurs who brought fresh thinking and unbridled creativity to create jobs, solve problems and build businesses to conquer local and global markets.”

In February 2013 His Excellency Hailemariam Desalegn officially launched the Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP) developed by UNDP in partnership with the Ministry of Urban Development and Construction to foster the emergence of a robust and entrepreneurial SME sector. The EDP is implemented on the ground by the newly established Entrepreneurship Development Centre and the Federal Micro and Small Enterprises Development Agency (FeMSEDA). The program has so far trained over 12,000 Ethiopian entrepreneurs providing them with skills-training and for those ready to launch and grow their business access to business advisory services. Government of Canada and Microsoft East Africa have come on board to partner on the EDP.



Entrepreneur of the Year

Kebede Lakew of Organic Liquid Fertilizer Producing PLC

Young Female

Meron Seid of Leather Exotica

Young Male Entrepreneur

Senai Wollderufael of  Feed Green Ethiopia

Environmental Sustainability

Berhanu Gadissa of  Sarutb PLC metal work and Plastic

SME Entrepreneur

Getahun Heramo of  Nita Color Center


Seble Birega of  Basha Chuko

EDC Start Up

Selome Mekonnen of Solo Shopping Service and Delivery

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