Haramaya University-Industry Linkage and Entrepreneurship Development Directorate conducted the 2020/21 Business Idea Competition on February 23, 2021at Resource Center.

In the competition 19 business ideas were presented and pitched and judged by five juries using a standard evaluation form.
The call for Business ideas was made in December 2020 and a total of 34 business ideas were submitted by different teams of more than 90 individuals comprising of graduating students, staff and youths from the community. Out of the 34 business ideas, 19 of the teams were able to participate in the competition after first screening. This round competition is the second one after the 2018/19 first round competition. The competition was not conducted last year due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Mitiku Eshetu, Director of the University-Industry Linkage and Entrepreneurship Development (UILEDD), stressed that this competition is aimed to tap innovative business ideas and incubate for further development into actual marketable business. There are excellent business ideas in minds of the youth and the academicians but the realization of these business ideas needs such competition form and testing of business ideas if it is really marketable and commercialized.
The University has an incubation center in which the first three winner teams will be admitted and coached/mentored to nurture their business ideas, receive different supports and commercialize their business ideas.

The Director also confirmed that the second round competition will be conducted soon after junior UG students rejoin the university.
University-Industry Linkage and Entrepreneurship Development has conducted a ceremony of handover of certificate and award for the winners and participants of business idea competitors.
Dr. Mitiku Eshetu, Director for University-Industry Linkage and Entrepreneurship Development, made opening speech and presentation on activities of the Directorate and role of being entrepreneurial through nurturing business ideas.
He indicated that almost all business start ups as ideas and ideas become real through nurturing as does a mother for a developing fetus in her womb. Therefore, we should give due attention to ideas and encourage the youth, particularly graduating students to work on developing business ideas and create their own job instead of solely seeking for job, he added.

Moreover, feedback and discussion were made and the participants indicated that the competition as well as trainings provided to graduates and competitors were excited and were happy to be part of the process.

Suggestions were also forwarded on how to improve the competition in the future; for example, sufficient training time should be given to the trainings and the competition, the training should include other vital components such as feasibility, financial aspect of business ideas, organ gram and mentoring.

During the awards and recognition ceremony handover of the awards to the winners and certificates to the participants of the competition, Dr. Yesihak Yusuf, Vice President for Community Engagement and Enterprise Development, said that the graduated students should not wait for a job, but they should have to create a new idea that they can create a job.
Dr. Yesihak also emphasized that such competition should continue and the Office of the Vice president will give the necessary supports.