News Analysis: Orbit Innovation Hub graduates it’s first batch of startup businesses striving to address societal issues

Graduates and guests on the event Photo: Orbit Innovation hub

By Etenesh Abera @EteneshAb 

Addis Abeba, August 02/2021- Most of the engineers at New Era Research and Development Center are university interns while some are high school students who learned of  the opportunity from social media accounts. “What we are doing is accelerating our business. We worked together with the orbit Innovation hub for the last four months but the New Era Research and Development Center was established a year and two months ago.’’ said  Natnael Kebede, founder of NERD and head of the technology section. NERD is one of the five startup companies that graduated last week from Orbit Innovational Hub. According to Natnael, their center is always striving to meet their innovations to the international standards. The founder stated that their objective is to be a research and innovation center for fresh graduate engineers and to change the narrative. ‘’ We want to replace the imported materials of sectors of  Robotics, Artificial intelligence and mechatronics.’’ 

Orbit Innovation Hub, sister company for Orbit Health and Innovation Center graduated the first batch of five startups after a four month business development and entrepreneurship training. Opened in December, 2020 Orbit Innovation Hub has so far graduated 15 individuals who are expected  to create 200 news jobs in its pilot project. The training was supported by the Mastercard Foundation young Africa works initiative. MedET, Tamaribet, Tena, Gebeta and New Era Research and Development (NERD) are the  technology based startup companies that joined health with other sectors.

Speaking at the occasion, Pazion Cherinet, CEO of Orbit Health and Innovation center stated that the foundation for innovation and entrepreneurship has been solving problems for the last five years since the establishment of the company. ‘’The first three and half years were difficult and we almost lost hope.We persevered through difficult times, we know we are here after years of struggle.’’ he said. According to the CEO, they encouraged the trainees and showed them how to overcome difficulties and build business organizations. Pazion said “The dream of startups is not to be profitable overnight, it’s all about creating impactful value and reaching a lot of people.’’ He added that their company stands for impactful innovations that solve complex societal problems. According to Pazion the 15 startups were selected from over 120 startups. He added that the company is forced to select ten percent of the applicants due to limited resources. 

Dr. Ahmedin Mohammed, State Minister of Innovation and Technology on his part encouraged the innovation hub and congratulated the trainees. He described the importance of Innovation hubs in transferring  knowledge and pointed out that the Orbit Health and Innovation Center  is different since it thrives to solve societal problems including education, health and service sectors. The state minister also mentioned the government inputs in regard to the homegrown economy and the digital transformation strategy.  

Almetsehay Paulose,state minister at the Ministry of Health on her part expressed hope in the country and its ability to change that hope into something tangible on the ground in the digital health and innovation sector. Alemetshay underscored the need to digitize the health system by having electronic health records of patients. The state minister also promised to work in collaboration with the medical startups in the future. 

Mesfin WoldeSelassie, Mastercard Foundation Ethiopia project manager stated that Ethiopia gets 10,000,000 job opportunities out of the 30,000,000 new jobs mastercard foundation plans to create for Africa by the end of 2030. ‘“The Ethiopian branch of Mastercard Foundation mainly focuses on agriculture followed by health and other sectors ”.Mesfin said.   

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‘’ I was inspired to create this startup after witnessing my sister’s child suffering and the stress she experienced during the Covid pandemic lockdown.’’ Leykun Ejegu co-founder of Tena healthcare technology told Addis Standard. The founders of Tena healthcare technology strive to ensure that mothers virtually access medical consultations for their children from wherever they are. AS 

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