Two Israeli winning tech teams that developed innovative projects for a two-day hackathon in May are headed to Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa to showcase their initiatives and take part in the annual SolveIT Innovation Competition, an annual contest across Ethiopia that provides a platform for tech and innovation projects and activities.
The all-expenses-paid trip to Ethiopia is part of the prize for having won the hackathon months ago, hosted and organized by Tech-Career, an NGO that offers technical training programs and courses to Ethiopian-Israelis, and sponsored by African Tech Got Next (ATGN), a global series on African tech entrepreneurship under the Kudu Ventures umbrella.
The event in Israel, called “Bridging The Gap Between the Ethiopian-Israeli Community and the African Tech Market,” was held at the offices of eBay Israel in Netanya. The winning teams developed projects that combine Ethiopian cultural practices with innovative tech, offering services that respond to the needs of the African population.
The first is BunaTrip, a travel app that helps locate Ethiopian-founded businesses abroad and Ethiopian families interested in hosting visitors, tapping into an Ethiopian diaspora that numbers over five million.
The second is Kube, a fintech solution for the Ethiopian population. Historically, Ethiopians didn’t use banks for finances, relying instead on “Kube,” a traditional loan system in the Ethiopian community where family and friends held large gatherings to raise communal funds, thus ensuring mutual responsibility. The Kube app automates this traditional practice, using technology instead of pen, paper, and written contracts, to manage meetings and funds in an efficient and orderly way through a mobile phone.
This will be the first Ethiopian-Israeli delegation to take part in the Solve IT Innovation Competition, which runs August 13-16. The competition, in partnership with the US Embassy in Ethiopia, is a two-week intensive tech startup boot camp for participants and includes a reception with Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde, visits to private sector incubators, and a pitch event with potential investors.
“It is our goal to make sure these innovators have all the access they need to be successful in the Ethiopian market and beyond,” said Noel Daniel, founder and partner at ATGN and Kudu Ventures respectively, in a press statement.
The Solve IT program which runs the Solve IT innovation competition was developed by Ethiopian tech company iCog and offers training and mentorship to young Ethiopians across the country. The program is the brainchild of Ethiopian developer Betelhem Dessie, and is designed to build an inclusive startup ecosystem in Ethiopia. In 2019, the initiative received an investment of some $200,000 from Kudu Ventures to launch an accelerator program.
Solve IT is funded by the US Embassy in Addis Ababa and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).