Meet our MEST Africa Challenge Ethiopia Country Finals Judges

This post was created by Vickie Remoe, Emerging Markets PR & Communications Expert for the MEST Africa Challenge.

On June 3rd, the MEST Africa Challenge Ethiopia Country Finals will bring together the best and brightest entrepreneurs to pitch their startup ventures to a panel of expert judges.

Join MEST, Microsoft, and Ethiopian ecosystem partners Blue Moon, GrowthAfrica, and Gebeya in the search to find Ethiopia’s next great tech startup!

Judges for the country finals in nine different markets across the continent — Ethiopia, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, Rwanda, Ghana, Tanzania, Senegal, Nigeria, and South Africa, include local investors, business leaders, and community players. Here is a closeup of the MEST Africa Challenge Ethiopia Country Finals judges, who will select the winning pitch to make it to the MEST Africa-wide finals to compete for $50,000 in equity investment.

Heaven Bereket

Regional Director, Gebeya

Heaven is the Regional Director of Europe at Gebeya where she is cultivating Africa’s top talent. She is ranked top 33 Female Tech Leader in Sweden and Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 with an incredible background growing up in the countryside in the north of Sweden with roots from East Africa. Heaven is a prominent Business Advisor contributing to Africa’s and Europe’s start-up and Tech scene. Heaven’s journey started in 2011 as a pharmacist who later became Swedens’ first female crypto specialist. Keynote Speaker, entrepreneur, investor, bitcoin enthusiast, trading school founder, and the heart and brains behind Bambino Foundation. Bambino Foundation has been fueled by Heaven’s passion for trading, and 70% of proceeds from her Forex and Crypto trading school go into providing child healthcare and education opportunities in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Ghana. She has so far directly supported full healthcare for over 2000 children.

Wossen Ayele

CoFounder, Pariti

Wossen is currently the co-founder and COO of Pariti, a freelance-based advisory firm supporting entrepreneurs in underserved markets. Prior to this, Wossen was a private equity attorney at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett where he advised clients including Silver Lake, KKR, and Blackstone on fundraises and transactions. He also worked at Emergo Partners, a frontier markets-focused VC firm, helping develop the firm’s strategy, and at McKinsey & Company in their East Africa office.

Dr. Eleni Gebre-Madhin

Chief Happiness Officer, BlueMoon

Eleni is the founder and chief executive of BlueMoon, Ethiopia’s first youth agribusiness and agritech incubator, and a seed investor. Prior to this, she founded Eleni LLC, Africa’s leader in designing, building, and supporting the operations of commodity exchange ecosystems in frontier markets. Dr. Gabre-Madhin is also the founder and former CEO of the highly acclaimed Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) from 2008 to late 2012, successfully trading $1.2 billion annually after 3 years of operation. A globally recognized thought leader on agricultural commodity markets and African development, she has held prior roles at the World Bank, the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, and UNCTAD in Geneva. Eleni Gabre-Madhin has a Ph.D. in applied economics from Stanford University, an MSc in Agricultural Economics from Michigan State University, and BA in economics from Cornell University, and received the Outstanding Dissertation Award by the American Agricultural Economics Association in 1999 for her research on Ethiopian grain markets. Eleni Gabre-Madhin was recognized as Devex’ Top 5 Women Global Women of Impact on Development in April 2016 and Africa’s Top Woman Pioneer, Innovator & Entrepreneur of 2015 by the Wharton Business School Africa Club. She was named among the 125 Global Women of Impact by Newsweek in April 2013, among 100 Most Influential Africans by New African in 2012, and received the prestigious Yara Prize for Agricultural Transformation in Africa and the African Banker Icon Award, both in 2012. She was named among 50 Women Shaping Africa by The Africa Report in 2011, nominated Outstanding African Businesswoman in 2010, and selected as Ethiopian Person of the Year in 2009. ECX is the first company in Africa to receive the prestigious global CIO100 Award for IT excellence applied to business in 2011 and named Agricultural Initiative of the Year by Africa Investor in 2011.

Delila Kidanu

Head of Business Development and Partnerships, MEST

Delila holds a BSc in International Relations & Business from Aston University and an MSc in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship from The Royal Technical Institute (KTH) in Stockholm. Previously Delila worked as the External Relations Manager at ThinkYoung developing social responsibility programs and managing corporate partners i.e. Boeing, Google, Goodyear. She then ran her own consultancy focused on CSR and market expansion projects for various organizations such as Bitpesa, ThinkYoung, Boeing, and Yusudi. Currently, Delila is the Head of Business Development and Partnerships at MEST Africa, where she engages investors, partners to boost the pan-African tech ecosystem through the development and scaling of African Technology startups.

MEST Africa Challenge Country Finals: Ethiopia

Join MEST and Microsoft on June 3rd for the Ethiopia Country Finals of the MEST Africa Challenge. The top tech startup from the Ethiopia finals will go on to compete against winners from eight other countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Côte D’Ivoire, Senegal, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, and Rwanda, for the chance to win $50,000 in equity investment and to join MEST’s Africa-wide startup support network. Check out all the finals here.

The largest Africa-wide technology entrepreneur training program, internal seed fund, and network of hubs offering incubation for startups: www.meltwater.org