To shape life in Ethiopia the way you like it, without choosing the type of work and distinguishing the status of jobs; There are many heroes who work day and night to make their vision a reality. By combining work and knowledge with limited financial resources, they reap the fruits of their labor.
The path of these heroes, who carry stones on their shoulders, operate heavy machinery and fight with iron and wood to change themselves and their country, is not a stable or a bed of roses. Above all, restrictions in promoting success force them to give in. It has often been said that their lack of sustainability diminishes their ability to create jobs and prosperity for others, even if they are supported.
Different countries recognizing the entrepreneurs for their hard work and dedication provide diverse support and opportunity by focusing on empowering them to overcome obstacles. While not enough, training, credit and financial support have been provided in Ethiopia that are critical to entrepreneurial growth.
Above all, however, support in the past was heavily dependent on the government, which did not allow entrepreneurs to assert themselves in the market on their own. Currently, however, in addition to government support and monitoring efforts, the contribution of third parties or interest groups has also improved.
For example, the Entrepreneurship Development Center -Ethiopia is one of the centers currently working in Ethiopia to support entrepreneurs and not only create jobs but also stay in business.
Entrepreneurship Development Center – Ethiopia is a semi-governmental project to develop the Entrepreneurship Development Program Structure, established by the Ministry of Urban Development and Construction and the United Nations Development Program.
Since its inception in February 2013, the center has provided training and consulting services for small and medium-sized businesses and high-growth companies that are motivated to create jobs and resources.
It aims to create and enrich large numbers of hard working and successful Ethiopian entrepreneurs by developing best practices in entrepreneurship and promoting the growth of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the country. It primarily focuses on entrepreneurship education, institution building, business development, connecting business markets, and financial relief.
One of the tasks of the center is to organize competitions that take into account the facilitation and strengthening of financial provision. For the first time, it has partnered with the Universities of California and Washington to hold a special event called the EthioSpur Business Growth Competition.
The winners of the 2020/21 competition, designed to reward and support Ethiopian entrepreneurs looking to grow existing businesses, were recently announced. The last five winners were selected from among the participants.
The winners of the competition at the Hilton Hotel received a total of 840,000 Birr. The first winner won 300,000 Birr, the second 220,000 Birr and the third 140,000 Birr. The fourth and fifth received 100,000 birr and 80,000 birr, respectively.
The five entrepreneurs were selected from over 900 applicants from Addis Ababa and the regions. The application phase lasted three months, during which 44 percent of the total applicants were women.
Notifying the winners of the competition took a long time due to the large number of participants, the risk of a COVID pandemic, repeated evaluations and verification of the top 20 winners.
More than 100 judges from various banks and microfinance institutions were involved in the evaluation process. A business development plan had the opportunity to be evaluated by 6 jurors. In addition, the evaluation was only based on clear criteria for identifying applicants, without using their identity and company name. “That made the competition absolutely believable,” he said.
The winners are active in the poultry, hotel and tourism, leather products, wood and metal processing and bread production sectors, four of them from Addis Ababa and the rest from Oromia, Holeta. In terms of gender, a female entrepreneur took third place in the competition and was awarded.
The leading winner of the competition was Andualem Yadesa, owner of Hawi Gudina SC. After graduating from university, Andualem said he chose to use his personal best efforts instead of waiting for the government to give him a job.
“I will never run out of ways to develop the organization and make it more effective,” said Andualem. He also said that training from the Entrepreneurship Development Center in Ethiopia enabled him to grow his business.
With the observation that such competitions not only create jobs but also make them more sustainable, Andualem emphasizes, they offer enormous potential for increasing competitiveness in addition to the realization of goals that are not achieved due to a lack of funds.
He will continue to work to make his vision a reality and invest the money he earned from the competition. Andualem added that he plans to create a job for 150 people by building a flour mill on 5,000 square feet of land he has received from the government. There is no doubt that this initiative will be successful.
The second winner of the competition was Abdulfetah Temam, the founder and manager of the ATA Hotel and Tourism Institute. Abdulfetah also said that the result he achieved in the competition will motivate him to do better work, adding that the organization aims to produce trained professionals in the industry. He also plans to increase the number of students he accepts each year by building his own college.
Hirut Zeleke, founder and owner of Shirshir Ethiopia Leather Products, won third place in the competition and awarded 140,000 birr. Her company, which has created jobs for more than 40 employees, produces handbags, shoes, jackets and skirts for the domestic and foreign markets.
Despite her efforts to expand her business, Hirut recalls that the lack of funding remained a bottleneck to realizing her dreams. By winning the competition, she undoubtedly had the potential to change the course of her history, she said.
“Winning competitions like this one is more than just money, it gives entrepreneurs higher morale and motivates them to work harder,” said Hirut. She plans to expand her business and market access to the center with new machinery and additional staff in the government-preserved workshed.
Hirut stressed that similar competitions should be promoted and sustained as they go a long way in helping the less fortunate. She went on to say that while entrepreneurship is tough and all is not a bed of roses, it is necessary to fight hard and develop the experience of sniffing out competitive opportunities.
Entrepreneurship Development Center – The Ethiopian CEO Dr. Hassan Hussein also agrees that there is no knowledge of how to start and maintain a business in Ethiopia. For many, once they start a business, they face a myriad of challenges, including administrative issues, financial management and gaps in use, as well as sustained growth and limited access to businesses.
Stressing that it would be impossible to succeed as an individual or as a country without addressing such challenges, the CEO said the center is engaging in various activities to fill the attitudes and knowledge gaps in the business environment and to provide financial support.
According to the CEO, the center is working to build the capacity of public and private institutions to create jobs. In addition, it offers employment and skills-oriented training for the unemployed and people who have difficulty succeeding and planning a new job. It also offers training to help college educators encourage technical and professional educators to take a direction that motivates entrepreneurship.
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The CEO said this has enabled many to run their businesses with skill and knowledge. In particular, he stated that the notion that finding a job with the government shouldn’t be a big dream. Instead, it makes sense to explore new directions that will lead to a real change in attitudes towards other alternatives and the realization of wealth creation through private employment.
“Although it has been seven years since it was founded, the center has problems with its organization. After all, it must not make its riches,” said Dr. Hassan. He noted that while work still needs to be done in collaboration with various international organizations dealing with entrepreneurship and business knowledge, the limited resources available are a major obstacle to the centre’s ability to expand its reach and enable it to make accessible to many.
For his part, the director general of the Federal Micro and Small Enterprises Development Agency, Gebremeskel Chala, said the center was set up to improve the work culture in Ethiopia and allow citizens to be creative, not job-seeking, not selective, but aspiring Its to expand their jobs once they start and make them sustainable.
He said the training offered by the center is unique in that it enables citizens to get jobs, create jobs and be profitable in order to understand the nature of job creation even when they have no money. He found that better business advice was available than any other institution and that it included qualified professionals.
He stressed that the center has benefited many over the past few years and will continue to do so. Citizens should use the center’s services and recognize that they can take advantage of opportunities.
Entrepreneurship Development Center: Ethiopia has agreed to use the achievements and experiences of this competition, in collaboration with the Universities of California and Washington, to host the second EthioSpur Business Development Plan competition at the national level.