ETHIOPIA – Ethiopia’s first youth focused agribusiness startup incubator, blueMoon has launched an innovation laboratory deemed blueLab, geared at enhancing productivity as well as building capacity in the agricultural sector.

According to the Herald, the establishment of the laboratory has attracted US$1.1 million funding from the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) in pledges.

An agreement between blueMoon and the Danish Embassy was signed during the2018 ICT-Expo held in Addis Abeba, also attended by ministers of Communication & Information Technology; and Science & Technology.

blueMoon is an agribusiness, agri-tech incubator and seed investor who claim to match exceptional startup ideas and founder teams with exceptional support and seed funding.

Once established, the new laboratory will apply technology to solve challenges such as meeting growing food demand, especially in urban areas, reduce water scarcity and minimise the adverse effects of climate change.

“Innovations in drones, robotics, sensors, big data, machine learning and block chain technology can create disruptive change and can lead to the next frontier in agriculture and the agribusiness value chain, including crops, livestock, dairy, fisheries, honey, and agro-forestry,” said Eleni Gabre-Madhin (PhD), founder and CEO of blueMoon.

The lab will also play a key role in optimizing learning, experimentation, prototyping, and testing of various innovations and link them to business incubators at blueMoon for commercialisation and scale-up.

Commenting on the development Shem Asefaw, blueMoon senior partner said, “We need to make it easier and cheaper for young people to innovate and experiment with ideas and to have access to cutting-edge technology.”

blueMoon was launched a year and a half ago to venture in seed funding, incubation of start-ups and crowdfunding and it runs a national competition twice a year and accepts five to 10 start-ups for a four month-program where entrepreneurs will have a place to work and receive training.

Denmark cooperates with Ethiopia in areas such as providing young people with an environment for start-ups to develop the tech-sides of their businesses.