The U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa in partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is sponsoring the second SolveIT! A national innovation competition, where Ethiopian youths will develop tech-based solutions to address community challenges.
The program officially launched in Addis Ababa on February 1, 2019, with regional launches to follow in 14 other cities in Ethiopia. So far, the second SolveIT! Competition has registered more than 1,500 participants nationwide and is now conducting orientations.
U.S. Embassy Cultural Affairs Officer Li Ping Lo said, "SolveIT! is part of the U.S. Embassy's ongoing efforts to invest in Ethiopians, providing opportunities, training and experiences in education, health, human rights, economic development, humanitarian assistance, and peace and security. The program is a collaboration among the U.S. Embassy, JICA, iCog Labs, and Humanity Plus."
JICA BDS Project Chief Advisor Hideo Eguchi added, "JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) started its Business Development Service (BDS) Enhancement project in September 2018 as part of efforts to support micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and entrepreneurs in Ethiopia in collaboration with Ethiopia's Federal Small and Medium Manufacturing Industry Development Authority (FeSMMIDA), the Federal Urban Job Creation and Food Security Agency (FeUJCFSA) and the Addis Ababa City Administration."
By supporting and developing an eco-system that promote entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology, the U.S. Embassy is investing the capacity of Ethiopians to shape their future. SolveIT! 2019 will take place in 15 cities in Ethiopia: Arba Mich, Addis Ababa, Adama, Assoa, Axum, Bahir Dar, Dire Dawa, Gambella, Gondar, Harar, Hawassa, Jigjiga, Jimma, Mekelle, and Semera. Training will be given in the cities, focusing on product development, technical support, marketing and business planning. Winners at the regional level will advance to the National Round, a week-long boot camp and presentations before a jury of industry experts.
At the award ceremony following the first SolveIT! Competition in 2018, U.S. Ambassador Michael Raynor noted, "... as Ethiopia embarks on the hard work of building its brighter future, there will be challenges. But as this competition shows, challenges exist to be solved, and the challenges Ethiopia faces will be solved first and foremost by Ethiopians."