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Shewaberr co-founder Eyuel Tesfaye gives insights on entrepreneurial journey

giulia-bertelli pic on unsplash
Photo by Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash

Meet founder Eyuel Tesfaye, an Addis Ababa-based startup helping Ethiopian authors and readers to make the transition to the digital world.

You co-founded Shewaberr, with Elias Suleiman, Eyuel Tesfaye, and Simon Belete.  What was that like? How did you raise funding and how has the journey been since then to what the company is now?

 We have founded in Fall 2020, and We have not yet raised any funds from outside capital. The journey like every startup has challenging and bumpy roads from inception, the licensing, finding exceptional team partners, developing software, market research, and many more to name a few take our time to make it happen in about ~11 Months. The company started operating on Aug 8, 2021 and has delivered more than 120 books in just 28 days with 3 people. We are now looking to raise capital shorter than we expected because those generated demands of early adopters are just the beginning of in  Ethiopia.

What would you say are the biggest challenges you’ve faced as an entrepreneur and with Shewaberr, how have you managed to overcome them?

The First and most challenging issue for me and more Ethiopian Entrepreneurs is finding Talent that shares the same values and wants to work harder on the project with little-to-no salary & new ideas that won’t even work in the first 1-2 Months of operations. That becomes scary for some people & finding those that share your values takes time to take an idea to the company in shorter times.

Tell us more about Shewaberr, what inspired that idea?

The idea for came after not finding original English books to read in Hand (not PDF/Softcopy) and came to the realization that if I’m struggling with this not finding books problem maybe some peoples are too, and there are many found after looking at the market. So the story of starts with first providing Amharic books for readers to find and then the English books follow.

What are your thoughts on the shift to digital economies and will that have an influence on how your business offering in future

In my observation the US and China didn’t start this revolution 5 years ago, that happened about 25 years ago, so African countries are just beginning this road that will take them the same time as our competitors, and just starting this digital revolution will not take off from the ground if the domestic business doesn’t move faster than their counterparts solving their own problems.

The startup scene in Ethiopia has recently ticked off, what would you say is the driving factor behind this?

The coming of venture capital and experienced cap tables, the growing of accelerators and incubators for startups, and the success story behind Ride Ethiopia (Uber of Ethiopia) made the impression and hype for entrepreneurs Also for investors to make the moves in Ethiopia make the startup scene more compelling.

Tell us more about previous work, projects, or programmes you guys have participated in, or any future moves we can expect.

We haven’t yet participated in any projects together before but looking forward to doing so, in the future of our Industry.

Looking at the current economic climate and the high youth unemployment, what opportunities would you encourage young entrepreneurs to look into and pursue?

Young entrepreneurs should in my opinion look for the most challenging and bureaucratic problems to solve and then create customer values and provide massive jobs that happen in that order.

What startup or entrepreneurial philosophies do you adhere to or believe in?

Think big, start small, grow fast

Looking at the Ethiopia startup ecosystem, what would you say are your favorite startups?

Feres for its best and must-have marketing tactics to retain users.

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