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Tropentag, September 14 - 16, 2022, Prague

"Can agroecological farming feed the world? Farmers' and academia's views."

University capacity building to nurture skilled youth to enhance employment and entrepreneurship in agro-processing industry in Ethiopia

Anis Dzankovic1, Bernd Müller1, Ermias Tesfaye Teferi2, Gezahegn Nigusse Kelikay3, Sisay Yefru Derbe4

1Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences, HSWT International School, Germany
2Bahir Dar University, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Ethiopia
3Hawassa University, School of Nutrition, Food Science and Technology, Ethiopia
4Arsi University, Dept. of Agricultural Economics, Ethiopia


Ethiopia’s economy is dependent on agriculture, which accounts for 40 percent of the GDP, 80 percent of exports, and an estimated 75 percent of employment. Developing competitive agro-processing industries is crucial for generating employment and income opportunities, especially for the rural population. The aim of the project is to enhance institutional and sector capacity of Ethiopia to develop agro-industrial sector through providing holistic support to entrepreneurs and MSMEs in the food and agro-processing sector. Through establishing three incubation centres for training of students, farmers and entrepreneurs to work on value chains and develop innovative and sustainable business models, the project aims to achieve the linkage of universities and agro-industry. Existing business incubators and initiatives are not reaching their full potential. In general, they lack the ability to provide comprehensive expert services, efficient forms of business support, access to supply, and access to financing options. This problem is to be tackled via giving the students, farmers and entrepreneurs the possibility of practical trainings, facility space for processing trials and providing a relevant network. In addition, incubation centre services will support entrepreneurs to overcome the startup challenges and facilitate their own business development and by that, the project will contribute to the reduction of unemployment. The project brings together key players in the entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem, Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI), United Nation Development Programme (UNDP) and three universities: Arsi University, Bahir Dar University and Hawassa University, where the incubation centres will be installed.
Within the project, there will be research conducted in form of case study. The research aims to find out what are the key challenges for food industry startups in Ethiopia. In addition, the research aims to identify the challenges of business incubation centres in their effort to successfully incubate new startups. The research will follow up the incubation process of startups and the work of the incubators at three mentioned universities. Through the monitoring, evaluation and analysis of collected data, the research will try to give an overview of entrepreneurship in the food industry sector.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Ethiopia, food industry, incubation centres, startups

Contact Address: Bernd Müller, Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences, HSWT International School, Markgrafenstraße 16, 91746 Weidenbach, Germany, e-mail: bernd.mueller@hswt.de

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