BFA Awards National Pitching Event and a visit to Ethiopia after more than 16 months


The Bright Future in Agriculture (BFA) Project in Ethiopia is making big steps since its start in 2019. The Nuffic Orange Knowledge Project that is being carried out under the lead of Maastricht School of Management has recently achieved a milestone by organizing a successful BFA Awards: National Pitching Event. Through the BFA Awards initiative students from the project’s beneficiary colleges were given the opportunity to get a better understanding of entrepreneurship and pitch their entrepreneurial ideas during a National Pitching Event that was attended by high-level officials, professionals and organizations.

The BFA Awards is a Business Idea Competition that was officially launched during the BFA Project’s annual review and planning event in January 2021.  

Seven beneficiary colleges of the BFA project took part in the first round of the competition and selected their top 2 business ideas out of all those submitted to pass on to the next stage. At the end of the first selection, there were a total of 14 students selected for the BFA Awards competition. The second round involved bringing together the top 14 students from the colleges. With the training organized by Entrepreneurship Development Centre (EDC) Ethiopia, 12 out of the 14 students gathered in Bishoftu, to receive a training titled “Design Your Venture” and develop their business ideas further; with the exception of the Merawi students.

To quote one of the students during the training “The training is helping me to improve my business idea and also look at other options in the field”, said Chernt, from Alage ATVET College. During the training, the students were given an assignment to go out into the community and pitch their ideas so that they can get an idea of how accepted their ideas would be when introduced to the public.

After the first round of training, the students were given 2 weeks to further develop their ideas and submit them to be evaluated.

Out of the top 12 submissions, 6 were selected for the second round of training that was focused on developing the pitching/presentation skills of the students. The selection was made by EDC and MSM based on a set criteria. During this 2 day training, the students practiced presenting their ideas to their fellow peers and their trainers.

With the aim of scaling up the entrepreneurship program of the BFA in collaboration with other organizations, the National Pitching Event brought together several international and national organizations such as ILO, Chamber of Commerce, Jobs Creation Commission, SNV, AAA, and ENTAG. College deans of the seven beneficiary colleges were present together with lead partners and regional TVET bureau representatives. The two sector associations EHPEA and ECMA were also present at the event. The event was held on 16 July 2021 at the Best Western Hotel in Addis Ababa.

Members of the jury for the national event comprised of Dr. Hassen Hussein; CEO, Entrepreneurship Development Centre-Ethiopia (EDC), Mr. Elias Geneti; Director, Olira Agro-Industry, AAA Country director, Ms. Helen Getaw; Project Manager, Ethio-Netherlands Trade and Agriculture Growth (ENTAG) Ms. Eldad Girma; Project Manager, Innovation Against Poverty (IAP) Ethiopia, Mr. Tewodros Zewdie: Executive Director; Ethiopian Horticulture Producers and Exporters Association.

The National event commenced with an opening speech from Dr. Huub Mudde, Project Director of BFA welcoming participants and wishing the top 6 contestants good luck. The students selected their order for their pitching and the competition began.

Students pitched their ideas and a question and answer session with the jury members followed to further judge the presentations. After a deliberation by the jury, results were announced; Chernt Getaye from Alage ATVET college taking first place and winning 100,000birr, Bedilu Ketema from Alage ATVET College and Mohammed Jibril from Kombolcha ATVET both in second place, winning 75,000 birr each.

The National Pitching Event of the BFA Awards program was a tremendous success and the project would like to thank all the students, organizations, companies, project partners and all guests for taking part in the program. The project hopes to continue encouraging entrepreneurship in the agricultural colleges and work together with other international and national organizations to further develop entrepreneurial and self-employment in agriculture colleges.

A visit to Ethiopia after more than 16 months.
BFA’s Project Director and MSM Senior Project Consultant, Dr. Huub Mudde had the opportunity to reconnect in person with the BFA team and partners after a long period of travel restrictions due to the Covid Pandemic.

The past period has taught us that many things are possible through internet communication, but the personal connection was truly missed, shares Dr. Mudde.  “When we meet in person, we can be more frank to each other, can listen more carefully what is said and better hear what is not said.  During my mission, I had the opportunity to finally visit Alage TVET College where I got impressed about the work of the staff, the vastness of the area, and was happy to hear the impact BFA has within people and the organization. In Ambo, I felt inspired by the BFA-initiated partnership between the TVET college, universities, research institute, government bureaus, and farms for setting up an Expert Centre on vegetable seedlings. And in Bishoftu, I became confident that TVET students would get an invaluable learning experience during their internship at Jettu Farm. Last, a visit also allows for unexpected, important events: at the Higher Education Convention in Addis Ababa, I had the chance to speak out in front of your government leaders to promote BFA and make a plea for more resources for the TVET sector. All in all, I am impressed about the work done by all of you, the BFA project team in particular, working towards a Bright Future in Agriculture” said Dr. Mudde.

About Bright Future in Agriculture
Bright Future in Agriculture is a three-year project that supports the Ethiopian agricultural technical and vocational education and training (TVET) sector. The project is funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and is managed by Nuffic as part of the Orange Knowledge Programme. There are in total 12 beneficiary institutions in Ethiopia out of which the Federal TVET Institute and Arba Minch University are the lead partners. Maastricht School of Management from the Netherlands is the lead implementer and together with 8 consortium member institutions from the Netherlands, Ethiopia and South Africa partake as providers. For more information and updates visit the BFA website. 

Orange Knowledge Programme
This project is part of the Orange Knowledge Programme (OKP) which is funded by the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and managed by Nuffic. For more information click here.

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