TechInAfrica – BlueMoon is one of the few tech hubs powering the tech and startup space in Ethiopia. Founded by Shem Asefaw, despite the challenges of internet shut down on East Africa, Asefaw is keen on developing the startup incubation hub, which is established about 2.5 years ago when there was only 4 operating startup incubation center in the country, and as of now, the number had grown to 15 hubs.
The hub offers a 6-month startup incubation program that gives room for entrepreneurs to develop their ideas. These entrepreneurs are usually university students who are designing products to solve problems deemed to be odd to the Ethiopian society, and thus getting a rejection at times, which is encouraged by Asefaw. Their rejection experience is then shared at the last session to learn and get insight from each other, specifically about the Ethiopian market. The incubatees also experiment with their product, given testing to prove its significance. At the end of the program, alumni are allowed to work out of the hub at no cost. Since the inception of the program, about 33 startups have graduated from it, while the initial numbers were just 6 startups, now 17, selected from over 140 applicants.
Other than the incubation program, blueMoon serves as the first investor in passing startups of the program with a seed funding of $10,000 (or 295,750 Ethiopian Birr) to allow the startups building their prototype and proof of concept. BlueMoon also organized pitching events for these startups to pitch to potential investors, and beneficiary startups are given the networking opportunities with investors.
Interns are welcomed as well, with most of them are Ethiopians studying in foreign universities, and the internship allows them to immerse themselves in the technology and business space of the country. Macdonald, a Zimbabwean studying in Mauritius and one of the interns at blueMoon said that internship is giving him a vast opportunity to get hands-on experience.
BlueMoon is currently working on a framework of incubation that suits the universities in Ethiopia who wish to have incubation hubs planted within their campuses, in hope that it will better prepare their students for what the future holds.
The hub is looking forward to having branches in other countries to serve the African communities there, and these hubs will be built to solve African problems.