Ethiopia Climate Innovation Center (ECIC) launched two outreach centers each in Bahirdar and Hawassa during last couple of weeks at the presence of Professor Yosef Mamo, Hawassa University President, Dr.Tesfaye Shiferaw Vice President for Research and Community Services in Bahir Dar University, Dr. Araya Asfaw Executive Director to HOAREC, Ms. Welela Ketema World Bank Program Officer, Ms. Tehut Tesfaye CEO of ECIC, regional government representatives, non-governmental organizations, ECIC existing clients, potential clients, financial sector representatives, students, university staff and the media. Ethiopia Climate Innovation Center (ECIC), was launched in Bahirdar University on June 11, 2015 and Hawassa University June 18, 2015 to support pioneering clean technology entrepreneurs that address climate change while creating jobs and improving livelihoods at the regional level. Both outreach centers were opened in collaboration with the respective universities.

The outreach centers are also the regional representation of ECIC to work closely with regional clients. The outreach centers are an important means for entrepreneurs to develop innovative ideas with the support of center. The centers also provide opportunities for universities students, university staff and communities to involve themselves by engaging on green innovations and business.

On the opening remarks of the launch events Tehut Tesfaye ECIC, CEO reiterated that the purpose of launch ceremonies is to establish collaboration with partners, stakeholders, regional government, existing as well as potential clients and the media, so as to further the support to climate technology entrepreneurs and contribute to Ethiopia’s green economy.

On the other hand, Ms. Welela Ketema, the World Bank representative on her keynote speech said “The World Bank and Ethiopian government have had a strong relationship for some time especially during the past decade. The World Bank project portfolio shows that Ethiopia is the second largest recipient from Africa in terms of financial support and this because of Ethiopia’s positive project performance. During the last year alone, Ethiopia received from the World Bank more than 2 billion USD. Ethiopia Climate Innovation Center, as one of the projects under World Bank’s private sector development group is established with two objectives. The first one is to strengthen capacities of the private sector and the later to bring solution for climate change related issues. The importance of opening outreach centers is to promote and encourage indigenous knowledge at regional level for climate change related problems”.

Dr. Araya Asfaw on his speech said that much is expected from the ECIC to contribute to the government’s target for Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP). The private sector working on climate related technologies will bring significant transformation for Ethiopia’s green economy.

Professor Yosef Mamo on his welcome speech articulated that “Working in partnership with ECIC will support university graduates to develop climate change related business. Linking university researchers with the ECIC and the Entrepreneurship Center will enable them to convert their researches into businesses”. On the other hand, Dr. Tesfaye from Bahirdar University said that integrating the University’s business incubation centers with the Ethiopia Climate Innovation Center will help to promote and encourage green technology business among students and staff.

During the event presentation was made about the work of the ECIC and what has been achieved since the outreach centers were opened at the end of January. The outreach center work as described by the outreach center Coordinators revolved around setting up the center, identifying stakeholders, conducting stakeholder analysis, building partnership, identifying potential clients and work closely with government institutions to ensure ECIC regional representation.The launch event also showcased proof of concept (POC) grant winner ECIC clients (GM Clean Energy and Dan-Ant-Cide) and potential clients from each center (Mr. Bedelu Kifle and Ms. Tarkayehu G/Selassie) presented their works for the audience. After lunch, the event participants visited GM Clean Energy in Bahirdar and Dan-Ant-Cide in Hawassa. While GM Clean Energy produces efficient biogas stove for ‘enjera’ and composite ‘mitad’, Dan-Ant-Cide produces n atural pesticide for different types of crops.

During reflection by the audience, participants expressed that they had been inspired by the presentations. Many pledged to support the entrepreneurs.

The ECIC had expressed its commitment to provide access to regional support of entrepreneurs in different regions by opening two additional outreach centers each Adama and Mekelle in collaboration with the universities. The Ethiopia Climate Innovation Center (ECIC), which is currently being hosted by the Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre & Network, Addis Ababa University is an initiative supported by the World Bank’s InfoDev and funded by the United Kingdom’s UKaid and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.