Addis Ideas: The Startup that’s Making the Most of African Innovation


Addis Ideas was founded by Mitu Yilma and Tia Ayele—two passionate members of the African diaspora. Addis Ideas’ main objective is to include African voices in discourse concerning local development issues. How the team envisions to carry out this objective is simple: a mobile app that lets users post their development ideas to a live feed, and receive instant feedback from other users, as well as generate public support and private sponsorship. The ultimate goal is to create a virtual innovation hub, where Africans collaborate to build a better Africa.

There are two primary factors motivating team Addis Ideas. The first factor is that African innovation is at an all-time high. From the invention of the “eco-stove”—a stove that reduces deforestation—to startups such as M-Kopa, that use the power of mobile technology and solar energy to overcome power outages, innovative development ideas are rampant in Africa.[1][2]

The second motivational factor behind the Addis Ideas application is the growing use of mobile technology in Africa. There is more access to mobile networks in the continent than to electricity, piped water, roads and even sewerage systems.[3] Moreover, smartphone subscriptions in Africa reached 800 million by the end of 2014 and will soon the hit 1 billion mark![4] We at Addis Ideas, believe that any attempt at cultivating inclusive development will make use of this widespread mobile technology.

During his recent visit to Africa, U.S. President Barack Obama said that “Africa is on the move.”[5] We know that statement could not be anymore true, and are excited to capture the best of African ingenuity. It’s time for African ideas to be at the forefront, and Addis Ideas will lead the way in ensuring that happens.

For more information and to see how the app works, please visit: www.addisideas.org, follow us on Twitter (@AddisIdeas), and like us on Facebook (facebook.com/AddisIdeas).


[1] “This ‘Eco Stove’ Does More than Cook Your Dinner,” CNN, accessed August 20, 2015, http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/30/africa/eco-stove-kampala-sustainable-cooking/index.html.

[2] “The Pay-as-You Go Solar Energy Startup Changing Africa,” Bloomberg TV Africa, accessed August 20, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcxUlIdzOgg.

[3] “The Mobile Phone Comes First in Africa; Before Electricity, Water, Toilets Or Even Food,” MG Africa, accessed August 20, 2015, http://mgafrica.com/article/2015-03-03-mobile-come-first-in-africa-before-electricity-water-toilets-or-even-food.

[4] “Africa’s Mobile Subscriptions Soon to Reach 1 Billion Mark,” CNBC Africa, accessed August 20, 2015, http://www.cnbcafrica.com/news/technology/2014/11/20/africa-mobile-report/.

[5] “9 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Obama,” CNN, accessed August 21, 2015, http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/03/africa/gallery/obama-entrepreneur-lessons-africa/index.html.


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