Saturday, April 20, 2024
CommentaryHow to leverage Ethiopia’s start-up ecosystem for success

How to leverage Ethiopia’s start-up ecosystem for success

Ethiopia is steadily advancing in the development of a thriving start-up ecosystem, but there is still room for improvement in fostering an innovative society. While entrepreneurship is on the rise, it flourishes best when accompanied by robust support from all ecosystem participants.

Among these participants, the government plays a pivotal role. Its primary responsibility is to create an enabling environment where entrepreneurs can navigate the ecosystem and conquer challenges. By ensuring favorable regulations and implementing supportive initiatives, the government has the power to empower young entrepreneurs and provide them with a platform to showcase their talents.

To strike the right balance, the government should delegate certain activities to the private sector while actively leveling the playing field. This means offering equal opportunities to entrepreneurs, incubators, and both local and foreign investors. Concrete actions, such as enacting appropriate laws and policies, removing restrictive regulations, and streamlining practices, are necessary steps.

For instance, company registration should be a swift and seamless process, preferably completed online in a matter of minutes—a practice already adopted by many countries worldwide. Furthermore, when it comes to disbursing funds and extending opportunities, the government must treat all ecosystem participants equally. Any visible disparity in treatment could impede the ecosystem’s growth.

Universities also have a crucial role to play in nurturing entrepreneurship. They should actively seek partnerships with the private sector, especially incubators, while creating spaces that foster entrepreneurial thinking. It is essential for aspiring young entrepreneurs to envision themselves as future company founders even before joining or graduating from university. This trend has proven successful in the tech entrepreneurship sphere, with notable founders emerging from such educational backgrounds.

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In essence, no government would deliberately hinder the progress of entrepreneurs within its ecosystem. After all, entrepreneurship not only generates wealth and revenue for the nation but also benefits the government itself. Supporting entrepreneurship, regardless of the type of government, is in the best interest of any nation. However, it is crucial to acknowledge and address any existing flaws or shortcomings within the system. Rectifying these issues is crucial to building a robust startup ecosystem, which serves as a key driver of development.

Forging strong connections and partnerships with other ecosystems is also a vital strategy for the government. Events like the Enkopa Summit provide an excellent opportunity to connect local entrepreneurs, investors, and other enablers with the diaspora and foreign entrepreneurs. The organizers of such summits deserve commendation for their efforts.

Furthermore, company founders should not solely rely on the government or other actors within the ecosystem. They should proactively explore opportunities beyond the confines of their local ecosystem, particularly on a global scale. Nowadays, international incubators offer ample support in terms of training and funding.

During challenging times, when everything seems bleak, it is the perfect opportunity to unleash creativity and innovation. History has shown that many groundbreaking innovations have emerged as solutions to problems during such periods.

In conclusion, it is crucial to awaken the dormant potential and think beyond the boundaries of the present. By transcending the limitations of the current situation, entrepreneurs can create their own realities and drive Ethiopia’s startup ecosystem to new heights.

(Bereket Abayneh is a business consultant who advises companies and startup founders to build relationships and expand into new markets. With hands-on experience in tech and innovation, he has worked in four countries across three continents.)

Contributed by Bereket Abayneh

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