When one looks into a mirror, the image reflects what it is today. But it also reveals what it used to be. Although appearances and many things change, many of the underlying characteristics remain the same. The same is true for iceaddis. The tech industry is full of revolutionary ideas. It’s a niche market that boasts a remarkable number of ideas that have been sharing their vision for 10 years. In that time the startups and staffs of iceaddis have had the privilege to challenge and penetrate this highly creative industry. From creating tech hubs, to co-working space, supporting startups and consultancy. The main focus of the hub has been to provide a place for startups to test and implement their ideas.
iceaddis moves toward its 10th year anniversary while a tech hub gig in technology and the idea of tech based startups sounded surreal to the country. As being the first tech hub in Ethiopia to support startups, this is a time to reflect the success and shortcomings of a long journey.
The story begins with a side project in a cooperation program, taking a leap into taking initiative to tackle the barriers of a simple question that was arising between young Ethiopians with an idea to innovate, to test and build their notion.
Although the question seems simple the answer was not. When internet penetration was 1pc, and there was no nurturing platform for youth to grow or launch their new venture. iceaddis was established to bring innovators together and start a dreamer community, a place for the mind to be curious, to be wrong, imagine, and forge a solution.
“About 10 years ago, One of our team members form GIZ had a visit to Kenya and visited Ihub a startup pioneer in the Kenya ecosystem and when he came back from the exposure he told us that the hub was doing and how a community based organization can actually contribute a lot in such a context. Stated Oliver Petzoldt, Co- founder of iceaddis.
“We thought something like this can be an access point for young innovators entrepreneurs, people from different disciplines can collaborate. There were fragmented groups like Google developers, user groups, a couple of university initiatives, People from different disciplines would like to collaborate together, socialize and have a place where they can call home. A place they can work from and find like-minded people was not available at that time. we had a starting point, we organized a community based conference, and the feedbacks were great.” he added
iceaddis amplifies founders and organizations through professional support and consultancy. A co-creation space, facilitating technological innovations, creative projects, product development and start up support.
It supported over 160 entrepreneurs, 31 accelerated startups, 45 startup incubators and over 75 products launched. Being the first to establish startup incubator, to hold a water hackathons, block chain and bloggers event and expand internationally as icecairo, icealex, icebauhaus. In Egypt, and Alexandria.
As mentioned previously, the chances of tech startups in Addis seems to change during the years with expensive service, the chances of succeeding in the tech industry in Ethiopia could be challenging and tempering at the same time.
“Finding a place, Opportunity giving entrepreneurs a place where they can call home, where they can get a hold of different information and network.” added Oliver Petzoldt
Solving a complex societal problem is an art of its own, with a playfield of problems, to find the right tools and manage to construe barriers as a drive force can be quite exhilarating. One of the startups working to tackle information flaws and gaps is 50Lomi, a data analytics company.
It was initially co-founded by 6 members, but currently owned by 5 electrical engineers.
“I recall we were in college when I first heard Markos Lemma at a briefing. The co-founder of Iceaddis gave a speech about startups and the opportunities of building tech companies in Ethiopia. As techies as we were, that left an impression on me.” remembers Temesgen Feseha, Co-founder of 5oLomi.
“Then we had this idea that we wanted to pitch, the idea of making data available and efficient for users by designing an in house software that analyzes data and configures based on classified information and set forth for our users.”
“We pitched the idea, they liked it and we immediately started working with iceaddis. That was four years ago, and now we have a number of partners that we work with.” mentioned Temesgen Feseha.
A decade is not easy to attain without any challenges or fondest memories, “one of my favorite memories is when the startup mekina.net launched their company, I’ll always remember that moment mentioned Oliver.
iceaddis is a second home where we had so many hysterical memories and moving along with iceaddis is truly a profound experience. Mentioned the co-founder of 50Lomi. “Working late nights together, hanging out after work, it was just like home”
It’s expanding outside of Addis, Icehawassa foundation is a grassroots of innovation hub for homegrown innovations with a strong social and environmental commitment recent developments have been going on with working with creative hub, a digital hub that supports startups to design, produce and innovate.
“iceaddis is working with creative hub in recruiting, consulting and managing the hub. In collaboration with African Mosaique, they will be in charge of recruitment processes, training and fields related to tech solutions. Mentioned Lensa Kebede, Project Manager at Creative Hub.
With infrastructure always changing and the landscape of education and technology rising, the essence of tech hubs are becoming more vital. “Although the role of tech hubs remains significant in order to create more impact, creating entrepreneurial momentum internally in the dominating sectors is practical. Organizations need to incorporate entrepreneurial skims to their company system” mentioned Nebiyou Yirga, an expert.
“And also to create diverse disruption in terms of technological transformation, private sectors can play a huge role. He added.