Addis Ababa

The Ministry of Innovation and Technology (MInT)

The Ministry of Innovation and Technology envisions Ethiopia’s startup ecosystem reaching the fourth stage of its lifecycle while prioritizing its actions to activate and globalize the startup ecosystem lifecycle.

Mr. Selamyihun Adefris
Innovation Development Lead CEO, Ministry of Innovation and Technology


The capital city of Ethiopia, with a population of more than 5 million, Addis Ababa is home to more than 300 established startups and 45 ecosystem builders, including Intuitio Ventures and Renew Capital. The 200 hectare ICT Park is dedicated to ICT-based startups and closely situated to Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa Science and Technology University, and industry parks.

In 2023, the Ministry of Innovation and Technology and Addis Ababa city administration signed an MOU that officially positions Addis Ababa as the first Ethiopian startup city, with the goal of offering soft landing to local and foreign startups and ecosystem builders. It also designed the E-Startup Initiative to measure the city’s conduciveness to startups. The ministry has been working closely with different stakeholders including the Ethiopian Youth Entrepreneurs Association (EYEA), which conducts monthly policy advocacy and provides a networking platform titled Zelela in partnership with MInT and others. The ministry with KOICA has opened the biggest incubation center in ICT Park, Addis Ababa called Innobiz-K Ethiopia.

In October 2023, the Next Ethiopian Startup (NEST) initiative was inaugurated by the vice prime minister, his excellency Ato Demeke Mekonnen. In the same month, Addis Ababa hosted the Global Startup Awards (GSA) Africa and the startup event ENKOPA. In December 2023, Ethiopia became an official member of the African Startup Development Declaration. Payments startup Kacha Digital Financial Service won the VISA Everywhere Initiative in 2023, with AI -driven risk and banking platform Qena and payment app SmilePay taking second and third places.

Ecosystem by the Numbers

(H2 2020 - 2022)
$83 m
GLOBAL AVG. $34.6 bn
(H2 2020 - 2022)
$12.3 m
GLOBAL AVG. $970 m
(H2 2020 - H2 2022 VS H2 2018 - H2 2020)
12.6% 12.6 27 47% 47 100 0
(H2 2020 - 2022)
MEDIAN SEED ROUND (H2 2020 - 2022)
$163 k
GLOBAL AVG. $821 k
MEDIAN SERIES A ROUND (H2 2020 - 2022)
$8.3 K
EARLY-STAGE FUNDING GROWTH (2019 - 20 VS. 2021 - 22)
Scale of 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest)
TOTAL VC FUNDING (2018 - 2022)
$36 m
GLOBAL AVG. $6.6 bn
TIME TO EXIT (2018 - 2022)
GLOBAL AVG. 9 years
EXIT AMOUNT (2018 - 2022)
GLOBAL AVG. $11.3 bn
(2018 - 2022)

Sub-Sector Strengths


The government of Ethiopia has supported the nation’s 40 Ecommerce startups by approving favorable proclamations. Ethiopian startup Ride launched its Ride Food platform in 2023. Shemach is a B2B marketplace for small retailers that has raised pre-seed funding. Buy2Go and Zmall Delivery signed an MOU in June 2023 to consolidate their market strategies and both signed an MOU with NinjaCart to obtain technical support in the agricultural supply chain.


In Ethiopia, Fintech products have emerged as a pathway for the under- and unbanked to achieve financial inclusion. The Ministry of Innovation and Technology supports Fintech startups through grants, training, and by creating a conducive environment. The 29 Fintech startups in Ethiopia include Kacha, Arifpay, Sunpay, and SantimPay, which are each valued at more than $2 million. Payments startup SantimPay has surpassed $106 million in transactions. Telbirr – a mobile payment service developed by state-owned Ethio telecom – and Safaricom’s M-PESA payments app also play vital roles in the sector.

Agtech & New Food

With a vast number of smallholder farmers and limited access to technology and traditional financing, the Addis Ababa ecosystem has targeted Agtech as an area of opportunity for innovative solutions to help farmers increase their productivity and income. There are over 25 Agtech startups in Addis Ababa, playing a role in transforming Ethiopia's agricultural sector. Lersha, which provides digital services to enable smallholders to access support, received a $100,000 grant from the GSMA Innovation Fund for Climate Resilience and Adaptation.

Reasons to Move Your Startup to Addis Ababa

Government Support

The government of Ethiopia is committed to the development of a sustainable, robust, and welcoming startup ecosystem to attract overseas startups and both foreign and local investors. The Ethiopian Startup Act, which establishes a national Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) council and innovation fund to finance startups, is awaiting approval. A dedicated STI policy promotes innovation and startups to accelerate economic growth.

Focus on Digitalization

Digital Ethiopia 2025 leverages technology to capitalize on the foreign exchange market. The Addis Ababa City Administration with its Innovation and Technology Development Bureau implements digitalization, conducts technology research, and supports Indigenous technologies to realize a smart city. In 2023, Addis Ababa hosted the Digital Startup Marketplace, a UNDP-sponsored event to showcase digital startups. Hulugram, a digital transformation app, raised $120,000 in an August 2023 pre-seed funding round.

Strong Talent Pipeline

Addis Ababa Science and Technology University and Addis Ababa University produce a steady pipeline of talented STEM graduates, with nearly 63% of their total graduates for the last five years in STEM. Addis Ababa Institute of Technology provides education, training, and research in technology to foster social and economic development. SaaS-enabled online tech talent marketplace Gebeya Inc. allows the global business community to easily access Ethiopian tech talent.

Selected Startup Organizations

Startup Genome Members

Key Ecosystem Players

News from the Ecosystem

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