Innovating a Global Africa: Global Startup Awards Africa Summit embeds innovation across startup nations


The upcoming Global Startup Award (GSA) Africa Summit, scheduled from 25 – 27 October 2023 at the Ethiopia Arts & Science Museum in Addis Ababa, is a monumental occasion for Ethiopia, a potential-laden country, signalling a significant milestone in the country’s entrepreneurial journey.

As we enter the Decade of Action, the GSA Africa platform seeks to showcase African world-changing innovation through a Sustainable Development Goal-aligned lens on the global and local stage. 

Her Excellency, Ms Muferihat Kamil, Minister of Labour and Skills of Ethiopia will make an address on the first day of the summit.  “We are witnessing an unprecedented era of innovation and entrepreneurship in Africa, where startups are emerging as powerful catalysts for economic growth and social transformation. This African Startups Summit serves as a testament to the immense potential and resilience of our continent’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. It brings together visionary minds and industry leaders who are dedicated to shaping the future of Africa through innovation.  In this summit, we celebrate the groundbreaking achievements of African startups and provide them with a platform to showcase their solutions addressing the most pressing challenges we face. From fintech to agritech, healthtech to renewable energy, these startups are not only driving economic prosperity but also making a positive impact on communities across Africa.”

Her Excellency continues, “Together, we are shaping a future where entrepreneurship and technology converge to create sustainable and inclusive development for all.  As we gather at the African Startups Summit, we are reminded of the extraordinary power that lies within collaboration and knowledge exchange. This event serves as a unique opportunity for startups to connect, learn from each other, and forge partnerships that transcend borders and industries. Through these collaborations, we can amplify our impact and accelerate the growth of the African startup ecosystem.

At this summit, we embrace diversity, recognizing that it fuels innovation and spurs creativity. We are committed to supporting startups from all corners of Africa, ensuring that they have access to the networks, resources, and mentorship needed to thrive. Together, we can create a vibrant and interconnected startup community that unleashes the full potential of African entrepreneurship and drives sustainable development across the continent.”

His Excellency, Dr. Belete Molla, Minister of the Ministry of Innovation and Technology, will also make an address at the summit and elaborate on the Ethiopian Homegrown Economic Reform Plan [HGER 2.0]. “The HGER 2.0 considers Youth and Innovation Driven Entrepreneurship (startups) as a powerful tool to drive economic progress and uplift our society. We aim to create an ecosystem that empowers startups to turn their ideas into a reality. With the revised national Science, Technology and Innovation policy, the Startup Act and Innovation Fund law, the upcoming National Ethiopian Startup initiative and the Addis Ababa Startups City Programme, the Ethiopian startup ecosystem has begun experiencing positive change. And, the energy and creativity of our startup community has started contributing to our nation’s economic growth and improved our position in the global sphere.”

His Excellency adds, “Africa, with its rich diversity and immense resources, is home to a growing population of young, talented minds who are eager to harness the power of technology and innovation-driven entrepreneurship to drive positive social, environmental and economic change. Hosting the Global Startup Awards Africa Summit accelerates the national startup ecosystem to rapidly connect to the global ecosystem.”

“We believe our African innovators are the next generation of leaders who can serve as continental and national assets to inspire the mobilisation of youth nations and leaders into the innovation economy and global readiness,”  says Jo Griffiths, co-founder of the Global Innovation Initiative Group (GIIG), the exclusive rights holder to GSA Africa.

The winners’ journeys are tracked as demonstratable innovation to evidence the urgent need and opportunity to provide ‘real-world, tangible implementation’ and build new markets. The summit brings innovation learnings, case studies, insights, and aspirations together from a multi-country perspective to build innovation-based economies. 

Just over 8,200 entries from 54 African countries were received this year, narrowing down to 71 regional winners across Africa. The event’s highlight, the awards ceremony, scheduled for 26 October at Friendship Park, will welcome GSA Africa’s extensive stakeholder network, including startups, government delegations, and like-minded investors. The final winners across 15 SDG-aligned categories will be recognised during this grand event. 

The Summit has been made possible through a collaborative partnership between the Ethiopian Ministry of Labour and Skills (MOLS), the Ethiopian Ministry of Innovation and Technology (MInT), the Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI-Ethiopia) and GIIG.

A snapshot of the Summit’s programme:

Ethiopia Art and Science Museum:

Day 1: Innovating a Global Africa

Day 2: 

  – Morning/Afternoon: Fast Track to Internationalisation and Market Access 

  – Evening: Awards ceremony at Friendship Park

ALX Ethiopia:

Day 3: 

  – Startup masterclasses 

  – Networking

  – Pitching 

  – Investor meetings

 To date, speakers scheduled to appear at the event include:

  • H.E. Muferihat Kamil, Minister for the Ethiopian Ministry of Skills and Labour 
  • H.E. Dr. Belete Molla Getahun, Minister for the Ethiopian Ministry of Innovation and Technology
  • Dr Hassan Hussien, CEO of the Entrepreneurship Development Institute (Ethiopia)
  • Jo Griffiths, GIIG Co-founder (South Africa)
  • Caitlin Nash, GIIG and Loudhailer Co-founder (South Africa)
  • Adebayo Adekola, Head of Innovation Portfolios and Governance at UNICEF Ethiopia (Denmark)
  • Gizachew Sisay, Team Lead Ethiopia at the United Nations Development Programme (Ethiopia)
  • Kidus Asfaw, CEO and Co-Founder of Kubik (Ethiopia)
  • Kim Balle, Founder of Global Startup Awards (Denmark)
  • Lucy Setian, Director of Digital Transformation at Novartis Foundation (Switzerland)
  • Mandi Swanepoel, Health Tech Ecosystem Manager at Wesgro Health (South Africa)
  • Prof. Sumarie Roodt, Co-founder of Noosi Health (South Africa)
  • Ryan Marinkowitz, Founder My1Health Africa (Kenya)
  • Sean Branagan, Director of the Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship from S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University (USA)
  • Seid Abdella, Tax Partner, Grant Thornton (Ethiopia)
  • Simon Davis, Chief Commercial Officer at ScarabTECH (USA)
  • Talya Shalev, Business Account Manager at WRAP (UK)

As an essential update, the Summit’s attendee limit of 400 has been met. There is a waitlist option which can be found here. Tables for the awards ceremony on 26 October are limited. Please send enquiries to [email protected] 

The Summit acknowledges its partners, including UNICEF Ethiopia, Grant Thornton Ethiopia, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Wesgro Health and The Loudhailer.

About the Global Startup Awards (GSA) Africa: GSA Africa is the largest independent startup ecosystem competition on the continent and exclusive vehicle for the GIIG Africa Fund to find, fund and scale Africa’s most innovative startups with Sustainable Development Goal-aligned solutions. 

After a successful 2021/2022 season, the GSA Africa Summit seeks to unearth leading innovators with SDG-aligned solutions that strive to Power and Light Up Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialise Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.  

For more information, go to  

About the Ministry of Labour and Skills (MOLS): Sustainable job creation and youth employment are critical challenges that Ethiopia is facing as the country aims to transition to a middle-income country by 2025. The Ministry of Labour and Skills (referred to as MOLS) adopted a holistic approach to tackle the binding constraints to jobs and proposed an ambitious, yet urgent call to create 14 million sustainable jobs by 2025.  

About the Ministry of Innovation and Technology (MInT): MInT is a governmental organisation established by proclamation 1263/2021 to play many roles and responsibilities in science technology, innovation and to lead the digitalisation of the country at large. It’s also mandated to provide support for the promotion of domestic innovation skills through establishing internationally standardised laboratories, workshops and information communication technology parks for selected innovation and technology research works; facilitate the establishment of a start-up fund for the same; organise innovation [startups, …] and technology database, compile information, set national standards for information management; provide professional and technical support to regional innovation and technology institutions; identify and cause common understanding on innovation and technology development activities to be undertaken by the regions across the nation. It also supports capacity building of institutions and professionals involved in innovation and technology activities; support and encourage professional associations, research and study institutions; establish a system that enhances the participation and role of the private sector in the development of innovation and technology. It works to create a conducive condition for implementation of the same; establish and implement a system for the grant of awards and incentives to individuals and institutions contributing to the advancement of innovation and technological development works; follow up the effectiveness of the transformation of innovative ideas into a values role for national prosperity by supporting creativity, innovation and startups.

About the Ethiopian Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI): The Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) – Ethiopia is an autonomous institution reporting to Ministry of Labour and Skills, came into being following the latest government reorganisation bringing together two entities, namely: The UNDP-supported Entrepreneurship Development Centre (EDC), established in February 2013, and the World Bank-financed Women Entrepreneurship Development Project (WEDP), inaugurated in December 2012.  EDI aims to midwife the emergence of a vibrant, competitive, and innovative private sector driven by a dynamic, vibrant, and growth-oriented SME sector. This is accomplished through a comprehensive package of entrepreneurship support programs ranging from ecosystem and capacity building to business development services (BDS), access to finance, and market linkage. Following its new mandate as a national institution, EDI plays a key role not only in the entrepreneurial ecosystem but also in self-employment. In the same vein, EDI has undertaken a strategic shift from direct services provider to building the capacities of other public and private institutions.

About the Global Innovation Initiative Group (GIIG): GIIG exists to find fund and grow globally relevant innovation in Africa and is the driver of the Global Startup Awards Africa, the GIIG Africa Foundation and the GIIG Africa Fund. These interlinked initiatives operate a pan-African innovation community across 55 Africa countries and build collective collaborations on a continental and global level to innovate a Global Africa. Via inspiring the mobilisation of youth populations and builders of innovation-based economies, GIIG connects and enables multi-stakeholder value chains to evidence demonstrable innovation-in-action in emerging startup nations.

For more information, go to


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