Young African Innovators Awarded at the first African Innovation Week /AIW/

Abyssinia Business Network /ABN/

A total of 75,000 USD has been awarded to winners at the first edition of African Innovation Week (AIW2019). The event was successfully concluded on Saturday November 2, 2019 by awarding the top five innovators for this year with 5,000 dollars each. 50 runner-ups have also been awarded 1000 USD each at the Innovation Week which was hosted at the African Union Commission here in Addis Ababa.

The innovators and startups had the chance to pitch their projects to judges throughout the week starting October 28, 2019. The awardees were picked based on the scores given to them by a set of 4 judges for each pitching session that comprised of up to 34 pitchers per day. During the scoring process, judges took into consideration the project’s viability, economics, rigor, impact as well as the pitchers’ delivery and punctuality among other criteria.

The 5 innovators that received the top prize of 5000 USD are from Rwanda, Ethiopia and Togo. 50 of the finalist innovators and startups that were awarded 1000 USD each will continue to be supported by IBA Ethiopia Center for Innovation and the Ministry of Innovation and Technology through training, grants and sponsorship.

In his closing remarks, Minister of Innovation and Technology, Dr Getahun Mekuria said: “This African Innovation Week should be an annual event. We are more than happy to join hands with IBA Ethiopia to make sure that this event is hosted yearly where our young people can showcase their creativity and innovation.”
The final day of African Innovation Week was also a platform where recognition was given to Traditional Medicine Practitioner, Hakim Abebech, for her lifetime achievement in preserving, building and promoting indigenous knowledge and innovation in Africa to lay down a foundation. On the occasion, Minister Getahun also underscored that indigenous knowledge should be given due emphasis in the upcoming African Innovation Week.

Hakim Abebech has been nominated for the Grand African Innovation Award which was officially launched at the closing ceremony by IBA Ethiopia Center for Innovation CEO Ayalew Desta. The award will officially start being presented at African Innovation Week 2020.

Awards presented to the winners at AIW 2019 were supported by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). UNDP Deputy Country Director, Mr Cleophas Torori, has encouraged the young innovators who were part of the African Innovation Week’s journey to continue being hard workers. Torori has also pledged the support of the UNDP for the upcoming African Innovation Week.

Overall more than 3000 participants have taken part in the first African Innovation Week. The six day event comprised of panel discussions in areas of Digitalization, Fintech & E-Commerce, Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship, TourismTech & Hospitality, as well as Trade & Investment. The top five innovators that got awarded at the end of AIW 2019 pitched projects in categories of AgriTech, Digitalization, E-commerce, Manufacturing Technology and Mining Industry.

African Innovation Week 2019 was organized by IBA Ethiopia Center for Innovation in collaboration with the African Union Commission, the Ministry of Innovation and Technology and Oslo International Hub.

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