Over ETB 1,200,000 is distributed to grantees as an experimental loan through the ARIHUB project. Within the coming days, the selected incubators will enter into an agreement with the ARIHUB project and commence the training activity.

Haramaya University (HrU) held Students’ and Local Youth Groups’ Incubation Challenge Award and Pre-Incubation launching workshop for the Agricultural and Rural Innovation Incubation Hub (ARIHUB).

The workshop was conducted from April 13-14, 2022 at the University-Agricultural and Rural Incubation Centre.

The event was considered a unique milestone towards rethinking student training and community service activities in higher learning institutions through the establishment of innovation hubs. It was nearly a year and a half ago since Haramaya University launched the ARIHUB and offered three-day training to its first intake of general agribusiness and business incubation trainees. Today’s event marks the beginning of the second phase of the ARIHUB project in producing workplace-ready graduates through an incubation-based training and mentorship model.

Dr. Jemal Yousuf, President of Haramaya University, in his speech advising all grantees to take the opportunity very seriously and dedicate themselves to producing marketable prototypes. The president underscored the university’s undeterred commitment to supporting well-performing enterprises in various ways, including by linking them with financial institutions.

The event was intended to officially acknowledge the 9 student and local youth enterprises and award them with a grant certificate that will entitle them to a student experimental loan and admission to the ARIHUB training facility to enable them to develop marketable prototypes and design a go-to-market strategy. All enterprises were selected through a competitive and transparent procedure by an independent multi-disciplinary steering committee- the Agri-business Incubation Steering Committee (AISC).

During his introduction to the ARIHUB project, Dr. Getachew Shambel, Project Principal Investigator (PI) and Incubation lead highlighted that ARIHUB is a two-year project supported under the RUFORUM and MASTERCARD foundations as part of the RUFORUM Agricultural Enterprises Challenge Program (RECAP). The project at Haramaya University is designed to enhance agricultural students’ and local youth groups’ entrepreneurial competencies and innovativeness through strengthening and supporting the development of innovative agricultural enterprises.

According to Dr. Getachew, the ARIHUB aims to support selected students and local youth groups to design, develop, and implement their innovative agri-business ideas through successive training, interactive coaching, mentoring, and monitoring activities provided at the innovation incubation hub. He also emphasized that the ARIHUB is a departure from the conventional entrepreneurship training model by integrating entrepreneurship training with innovation incubation and Multi-Stakeholder Innovation Platforms (MSIPs).

The process is envisaged to capacitate young entrepreneurs through continuous and systematic mentorship activities through a 12-week training cycle that will lead to developing relevant and marketable prototypes and products.

As a university-based incubation facility, in the long run, ARIHUB envisions promoting innovativeness through identifying and helping agri-focused university entrepreneurs develop and commercialize their ventures; facilitating the development of collaborative innovation communities bringing together entrepreneurs, government, private sector, academia and investors to enable decent job creation in the agricultural sector; and creating research and learning opportunities to develop best practices for entrepreneurial development.

The enterprises selected this year are Rabbit Farming and Marketing; Ethio-Yammi Pasta production; Casmiroa juice production and Marketing; Sweet Potato Jam Production and Marketing; Poultry farm production and marketing; Honey bee production and marketing; Weme chicken; Rearing poultry (Bate youth business partnership); and Homemade Incubator Development and Day-old chick production.

Dr. Tesfaye Lemma, Vice president for Research Affairs, in his a closing speech remarked on the importance of incubation-based training for sustainable development and promoting employment for the highly growing youth group in the country.

The ARIHUB project is coordinated by Dr. Getachew Shambel (project PI and incubation lead) and co-PIs – (Drs. Jemal Yousuf, Chanyalew Seyoum, Muluken Gezahegn, Eric Ndemo, and Mr. Samuel Taye) all from the School of Rural Development and Agricultural Innovations (RDAI) with support from RUFORUM, MASTERCARD foundation, and Haramaya University. And it is jointly implemented by the University, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), community-Based Organizations (CBOs), and private sector partners.

Finally, the winners received their awards from Prof. Mitiku Guya, University-Industry Linkage Directorate.

Haramaya University

Public & International Relations Directorate