The partnership between the UK based not-for-profit Mowgli Mentoring Foundation and blueMoon PLC, a youth agribusiness incubator and seed investor founded by Eleni Gabre-Madhin (PhD), the founder and former CEO of the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX), announced this week that the first batch of young entrepreneurs who have demonstrated workable ideas in agribusiness will start their mentoring program Mowgli is set to provide until end of February this year.
According to the presser Mowgli Mentoring, sent to The Reporter, the two organizations will be marking their 8-month anniversary of partnership today.
Kathleen Bury, CEO of the Mowgli Foundation, and Eleni will be launching the event today which aims to build the capacity of mentors and provide further support to the matched mentoring relationships. The event is set to take place at blueMoon’s center, Addis Garage, located in the vicinities of Bole Medhanealem.
The two sides have agreed on a program which is set to support the personal and business growth of blueMoon’s first batch of startups, which have been incubated and just completed the so called the “Lion’s Den” program where they collectively raised some seven million birr in an investment funding, through mentoring, which is expected to continue until February, this year.
By launching its first program in Ethiopia, Mowgli has extended its operations into Sub Saharan Africa (SSA), diversifying its traditional focus in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Back in January, Eleni and her team have curated “Addis Garage,” a platform that facilitates a full-fledged working place for young Ethiopian entrepreneurs aged 15 to 29 years. Addis Garage is hosting startup businesses that aspire to join the business world full-scale. Hence, tenants of the Addis Garage are provided with internet services, meeting rooms and café lounges in addition to a clean working space. The idea of such facilities elsewhere in the Western world is basically to target startups that could not invest on such facilities but share the services provided by various companies, as co-working groups and share costs.
Focusing on innovative, scalable, and high-impact businesses across the agricultural value chain and across commodities, blueMoon holds biannual national competition and started accepting a small number of startups (5 to 10) into an on-site four-month program. Accordingly, the program will have two every year; the first batch takes the training from February to May (Bega Batch) and the second one from August to November (Kiremt batch).
Credited for the inception and introduction of the first organized commodity exchange in Ethiopia, in 2008, Eleni has earned global recognition as well as criticisms for her idea. Eventually, she was able to prove that it is, in fact, beneficiary to modernize the country’s commodity trading subsector.
After successful operation at the ECX, Eleni left for Kenya to launch the Eleni Exchange, another commodity market which aimed at operate in the Eastern Africa commodity markets.