On the 13th of October 2022, sequa led the launch of BIC Ethiopia in Addis Ababa. The aim of BIC Ethiopia is to enable business incubators to support start-ups of agricultural technologies and agribusinesses as well as micro, small and medium enterprises to improve their market access, generate higher incomes and create jobs in the country.
The fact that BIC Ethiopia is strongly supported by all stakeholders was demonstrated by the keen interest in the event and the high-level participation, led by His Excellency Ato Nigussu Tilahun, Minister of State for Jobs, Employment and Labor Market of the Ministry of Labor and Skills, and by Mercedes Marin Nortes of the Delegation of the European Union to Ethiopia as well as the consortium partners and stakeholders.
BIC Ethiopia is a four-year project with a budget of EUR 5.5M, of which 90% is funded by the European Union. The project is being implemented since January 2022 by a consortium with sequa in the lead and the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations (AACCSA), adelphi, Menschen für Menschen (MfM), GrowthAfrica and Icehawassa.
In the first nine months of BIC Ethiopia’s implementation, BIC Academy curricula and toolkits for the Starter and Catalyser Training were developed. The Starter Toolkit targets aspiring entrepreneurs who wants to build their business idea into a business model whereas the Catalyser Toolkit is for established enterprises to refine their business model and grow their enterprise.
Eleven incubators were selected via an expression of interest to take part in the capacity building training program and to implement trainings of the BIC Academy. Seven incubators took part in the Training of Trainers (ToT) and signed contracts to train the first cohorts of start-ups and MSMEs. Additionally, three consortium partners attended their first tailor-made capacity building workshop that supported them in establishing their own new incubators. The incubators of AACCSA and the Agro Technical and Technology College in Harar from MfM are in the set-up phase whereas the one from Icehawassa is already operational. A mapping of the Ethiopian Ecosystem was conducted, and a summary was presented during the launch.
BIC Ethiopia started close cooperation with other employment creation programmes of the EU and GIZ, with the Ethiopian Actors of the Startup Ecosystem (EASE), which was established by private, academic, and non-profit incubators to serve as a network and discussion forum for incubation centres, and with the regional network BIC Africa. The project also cooperated with the Ethiopian Ministries that are highly relevant for business incubation: the Ministry of Labor and Skills as well as the Ministry of Innovation and Technology support.
Written by: Sabine Schacknat
Photos: BIC Ethiopia & BIC Africa/Dawit Dagnew