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An innovative idea competition on urban issues held its first round of selections. Funded by the German Development Bank (KFW), the contest selected 40 semi-finalists from February 15-17, 2014. “Most of the ideas revolved around environmental cleanliness, technological inventions, energy retention and construction,” says Nega Namaga (Ph.D.), dean of Africa Beza University College. “It is really amazing what people can come up with.”
Africa Beza University College which serves as a consultant for the whole project also oversaw the selection of the 12 judges for this round. This includes government representatives from organizations like the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), Addis Ababa University (AAU), Commercial Bank of Ethiopia (CBE) as well as private institutions like Zemen Bank, Hibret Bank and Abyssinia Bank, according to Nega. Though the semi-final round is over that doesn’t mean the 10 winners will be selected right away, says Nega. “While the ideas presented have great merit, the competitors need to refine their business plans,” he says.
“Thus they will be given training on that aspect and re-submit their work in a better format.” The 10 winners will each get 200,000 birr out of the USD 133,000 budget provided by the KFW.  Nega says that Africa Beza hopes to select the 10 winners within the next 2 or 3 weeks. Registrations occurred between October 11 and November 10, 2013 where 262 competitors applied.