Ethiopia launches youth challenge to nurture business ideas

With the aim of helping young Ethiopians get finance and coaching for their innovative business ideas, a global initiative, GenU Youth Challenge, launched in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this morning.

Labeled, GenU Youth Challenge Ethiopia, the new initiative has invited youth in Ethiopia’s five cities – Addis Ababa, Adama, Bahir Dar, Hawassa, and Jigjiga to submit their innovative business ideas until February 9, 2022.

The participant youth between age 18 – 29 have to be in a team of three to five members in order to compete for the GenU Youth Challenge Ethiopia. Each winning team will go through orientation, bootcamp for 8 days, and coaching sessions, and get 100,000 Birr award.

The best one will be considered to compete globally, according to Mr. Michael Addisu, Technical Director at First Consult who presented about the initiative representing the consulting firm employed by the UN agencies involved in the global initiative.

It is indicated that between 30 to 50 youths from the five cities are expected to be selected as finalists. The youth applying for GenU Youth Challenge Ethiopia can access the application form online or at the Job Commission offices in the five cities.

“We want to support the youth in Ethiopia by incubating their business ideas and make them fruitful,” said Eve S. Wanjala, GenU Technical Lead at UNICEF Ethiopia, who indicated that GenU Youth Challenge Ethiopia is hosted at the Ministry of Labor and Skills of Ethiopia.

In July 2022, the most promising business solutions from each country will be submitted to a global judging process. If selected these projects will receive further funding, along with a tailored global incubation program from Generation Unlimited partners to support them to scale.

In his opening speech at the launch ceremony, UNDP Resident Representative, Mr. Turhan Saleh, said, “We are bringing together bright young minds to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing their generation. Young people are experts in their own lives and experiences. They have the ideas and energy to create a better world for themselves – if only we give them the chance. We recognize that while talent is universal, opportunity is not.” He added, “We are proud to help young innovators to develop their own game-changing ideas and make an impact for their communities.

As part of the global initiative that aims to help countries meet the sustainable goals empowering their youth, GenU (Generation Unlimited) Youth Challenge is expected to continue until the year 2030.

The Challenge in Ethiopia is being hosted by the Ministry of Labour and Skills, supported by UNICEF, UNDP, ILO, UNFPA, and Resident Coordinator Office (RCO), and being implemented by First Consult.