Generation Unlimited 2022 selects two winning teams in Ethiopia

The Generation Unlimited Youth Challenge Ethiopia 2022- a global initiative by UNICEF, was closed today by selecting 2 winning teams to compete at the Global Youth Challenge in New York, USA.

Their business ideas will be submitted to the Global Youth Challenge by the end of August. These teams were selected from the 5 finalist teams that won a cash prize of ETB 100,000. During the closing ceremony, 5 teams pitched their business solutions, which address various social problems in the areas of animal feed production, water purification, automating, traditional Ethiopian clothing, programming/coding, and a respiratory support machine.

The business solutions of the winning teams along with other business solutions 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.

While opening the closing ceremony Ato Tiumegzi Fikadu, Director at Ministry of Labour and Skills (MoLS), said, “As a country we face so many problems, but we also have so many opportunities. This challenge gives the youth an opportunity to create a bridge between the problems and the opportunities. Due to this reason, the Ministry of Labor and Skills always supports youth who are able to bring socially impactful and problem-solving business ideas. We consider all innovative ideas to be useful because our country is still in need of such solutions. So, we continue to host and support these kinds of challenges and platforms.”

Generation Unlimited is the world’s leading Public-Private-Youth Partnership (PPYP) transforming crisis into opportunity with and for young people. The Challenge took place in over 35 countries worldwide. The Challenge calls on young innovators in Ethiopia to design solutions to accelerate Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), by helping the youth develop skills, offering mentoring, and providing seed funding to turn their ideas into realities. The focus of Generation Unlimited and the Youth Challenge 2022 was to skill and connect young people to entrepreneurship and social impact opportunities in their communities.

The first edition of the Youth Challenge in Ethiopia focused on 5 major cities in Ethiopia (Addis Ababa, Adama, Bahir Dar, Hawassa, and Jigjiga) and took place over a period of 10 weeks until April 8, 2022.

More than 700 groups applied to join the GenU Youth Challenge competition, of which 364 have been long listed. Following an in-depth review and interviews, 10 teams joined the boot camp program to receive lessons on ways to develop key life skills, mature key entrepreneurial skills and run a successful business and ways to be responsible citizens.

They also received training on mindset change and leadership. The Bootcamp took place in Bishoftu at both The Ethiopian Management Institute and Jerusalem Children and Community Development Organization (JeCCDO) for ten consecutive days. At the end of the Bootcamp program, the 10 teams pitched their business ideas and the judges selected 5 finalist teams for seed funding, further mentoring and networking.

The mentoring lasted for 4 weeks. Each mentor was assigned a specific team to work with. The mentoring sessions lasted 1 to 2 hours every week. The contents included business plan implementation, cash flow plan, progress update and problem-solving, seed fund disbursement plan, marketing plan, organizational management plan, and leadership.

The networking event took place on April 8th, after the closing event where there were dignitaries, government officials, microfinance representatives, and potential investors. The goal of the networking event is to help the youth foster connections with people to help them further succeed in their ideas.

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 is being implemented by First Consult.