ADDIS ABEBA – GreenBean, manufacturer of Africa’s first mechanical coffee dryer machines, has won the biggest prize in the biggest startup event in Ethiopia.
GreenBean’s machine reduces coffee drying time from 20 days to 15 hours using heat sensors to customize the drying method with 10 preorders already obtained.
The manufacturer, co-founded by Yigzeralew Ayele and Anduamlak Mehariw, announced as the winner of this year’s prize for best startup at the final day of EthiopiaInnovate Week 2019.
The two runners up were YenePay, a local digital payment system established by Nurhassen Mensur, Sisay Getnet, Ermias Haileyesus, Dawit Bahre, Tinsae Mekbib, Natan Tadesse and Feleke Araya, and Grohydro, a manufacturer of hydroponic vertical farming systems, established by Selam Wondim and Brook Lakew.
The event was hosted by the Ministry of Innovation and Technology and blueMoon, Ethiopia’s first youth agribusiness incubator and seed investor, founded by Dr. Eleni Gabre-Madhin, and in collaboration with other incubators and actors in the startup community, such as iceaddis, Gebeya, and iCog Labs.
The event kicked off the Semi-finals round of pitch competition, with 118 entrepreneurs recruited from 14 cities around Ethiopia, who pitched their ideas on three stages organized according to SDG theme.
They competed over two days for 10 finalists spots to judges recruited from among business professionals.
In parallel, various panel discussions organized as “Fireside Chats” were held on key themes of great importance to Ethiopia’s efforts to launch a startup ecosystem: Early Stage Investing, From Starting up to Scaling up, Angel Investing, and Startup Nation.
The lineup of international and local speakers included: EIC Commissioner Abebe Abebayehu, JCC Commissioner Dr. Ephrem Lemango, Jake Bright, from TechCrunch in New York City, Tomi Davies, President of African Business Angels Network in South Africa, Mbwana Alliy, CEO of Savannah Fund from Silicon Valley, Martin Karanja, from GSMA Acclerator, Adedana Capital from Village Capital in the US, as well as leading business entrepreneurs and incubator experts from Ethiopia.
Three important side events were also held with big implications for the future of the Ethiopian startup ecosystem.
Finally, the dramatic Grande Finale, with live TV transmission, was held on the final afternoon on June 9, with over 2,000 in attendance and a TV audience of tens of millions of viewers.
With an international jury of 5 international investors, ABAN, Savannah Fund, GSMA Accelerator, Village Capital, and Cellulant, the top ten startup finalists battled to win the top spot, but it was GreenBean that finally grabbed the first place with 1 million Br Cash Prize.