Ethiopian-Israeli delegation looks to conquer tech event in Addis Ababa

The delegation is made up of members of an Israeli non-governmental organization working to integrate Ethiopian-Israelis.

By Adi Pick, Calcalist

A delegation of young Ethiopian-Israelis working in the Israeli tech sector arrived in Addis Ababa Tuesday to take part in the annual SolveIT innovation competition run by Addis Ababa-based tech company iCog Labs.

U.S.-based Kudu Ventures, the firm sponsoring the Israeli delegation, made the announcement. As part of the competition, participants will pitch their products to Ethiopia-based investors and receive mentorship from local entrepreneurs. The competition, which takes place August 13-16, is funded by the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The Israeli delegation are all members of Tech-Career, a local non-governmental organization that operates as a tech training center for Israel’s Ethiopian community. The delegation will be participating in a two-week intensive tech startup boot camp while visiting Ethiopia, which includes a reception with the President of Ethiopia Sahle-Work Zewde, visits to several incubators, and a pitch event with potential investors.

Data published recently by the Adva Center, a Tel Aviv-based non-partisan Israeli policy analysis center, shows that the Ethiopian community in Israel is the poorest minority group of Israeli Jews, with 23 percent of Ethiopian households defined as poor compared to 13 percdent in the country’s general Jewish population.

In 2016, the net monthly income for an Israeli-Ethiopian household was NIS 11,250 (approximately $3,150), according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics, substantially less than the average monthly income for the entire population standing at NIS 15,751 (approximately $4,400) for all households in Israel.

Tech employees in Israel earn nearly 2.5 times the average wage of non-tech employees, according to a report published recently by the Israel-based Taub Center for Social Policy Studies. Tech-Career says that it hopes to help members of Israel’s Ethiopian community ascend into the upper classes of Israeli society by offering them training in tech-related fields.