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 five million, Addis Ababa is home to more than 300 established startups and 45 ecosystem builders, including Industry 4.0, Mobility, and Logistics pre-seed venture studio Intuitio Ventures and Renew Capital, which invests in African growth-oriented SMEs. 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 (MInT) 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, which conducts monthly policy advocacy and provides a networking platform titled Zelela in partnership with MInT and others.

The three-week Ethiopia Startup Event was officially inaugurated by the Prime Minister of the country, His Excellency Dr. Abiy Ahmed, in April 2024, hosting 900 startups. 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 Africa and the startup event ENKOPA. In December 2023, Ethiopia became an official member of the African Startup Development Declaration. The Dodai, an Addis Ababa-based electric vehicle startup, has secured $4 million in its Series A round.

Ecosystem by the Numbers

(H2 2021 - 2023)
$87 m
GLOBAL AVG. $29.4 bn
(H2 2021 - 2023)
$8.1 m
GLOBAL AVG. $655 m
(H2 2021 - H2 2023 VS H2 2019 - H2 2021)
15% 15 33 46% 46 100 0
(H2 2021 - 2023)
MEDIAN SEED ROUND (H2 2021 - 2023)
$177 k
GLOBAL AVG. $985 k
MEDIAN SERIES A ROUND (H2 2021 – 2023)
GLOBAL AVG. $7.5 m
$4 k
EARLY-STAGE FUNDING GROWTH (2020 - 21 VS. 2022 - 23)
Scale of 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest)
TOTAL VC FUNDING (2019 - 2023)
$51 m
GLOBAL AVG. $4.6 bn
TIME TO EXIT (2019 - 2023)
GLOBAL AVG. 10 years
EXIT AMOUNT (2019 - 2023)
GLOBAL AVG. $8.9 bn
(2019 - 2023)

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. MInT 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.


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 promoting the startup ecosystem to attract overseas startups and both foreign and local investors. In April 2024, the government announced policy actions including a commercial lease agreement requirement to obtain a business license, a simplified business wind-down process, startup business ID code issuance, capital gains tax exemption, foreign retention and international payment transfer, minimizing the foreign investment requirement, and co-investment facilities.

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

Innobiz-K Ethiopia Incubation Center

Innobiz-K Ethiopia is one of the projects put in place to boost the current startup ecosystem. The MInT, in collaboration with the KOICA, established this standardized center to serve as a hub of NEST. The Center has started with different activities such as hackathon, pitch competition, collaboration with universities, and NEST program with UNDP to support early, post-early, and late-stage startups.

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