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Shortlist revealed for ITC’s WEDF 2019 Young Social Entrepreneurs pitching competition (en)

15 noviembre 2019
ITC Noticias
Young entrepreneurs from Cameroon, Ethiopia, Guinea, South Korea and South Africa selected for pitching contest at ITC’s World Export Development Forum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

(Geneva-Addis Ababa) – Five African and one Asian social start-ups will take the centre-stage at this year’s World Export Development Forum (WEDF). The selected companies will be pitching their business ideas to a panel of judges with a chance of winning seed funding to develop or scale up their projects. The six finalists – from Cameroon, Ethiopia, Guinea, South Korea and South Africa – were selected by the International Trade Centre (ITC) in collaboration with partners including Impact Hub Geneva’s Accelerate2030 programme, IceAddis, the Pierre Castel Foundation and the Korea-Africa Foundation.

The seven shortlisted companies are G&H Blockchain, Ethiopia; OmniTech, Ethiopia; La Petite Damba, Guinea; PSM, Cameroon; Smart Diagnosis, South Korea; and SiyaBuddy, South Africa.

The pitching contestants will have their business cases assessed by a panel of judges comprised of Colette van der Ven, Director, Trade and Development, Sidley Austin; Mahlet Afework, Founder, Mafi Mafi, Ethiopia; Alieu Jallow, Founder, Startup Incubator, The Gambia – AU-EU Youth Hub representative; and Charles Ofori, Co-founder, Dext Technology, a Ghanaian start-up that won the 2018 Young Social Entrepreneurs Competition.

The judges will make their assessment based on the value proposition of the business ideas, as well as their social impact, market potential, team strength, and the financial model.

This pitching competition is an initiative of ITC’s Youth and Trade programme, which aims to connect young social entrepreneurs to markets and support social entrepreneurship as a way of contributing to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4, on quality education, and Goal 8, on sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

The World Export Development Forum 2019 – themed Trade and Invest in One Africa – is organized by ITC in partnership with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Trade and Industry and the African Union will be held in Addis Ababa on the 18 – 22 November. A key component of WEDF will be exploring and improving the role of youth in Africa by supporting trade-led growth and entrepreneurship; how to open up investment in the new free trade area; the role of e-commerce and digital trade; and how to ensure Africa’s economic growth is green and sustainable.

The shortlist

G&H Blockchain is a Guinean company working to solve inefficiencies and increase building transparency in the export sector using blockchain technology. It aims to improve the speed and security along the agricultural value chain and has a vision to empower Africa’s agro industry to grow its comparative advantage through technology.

OmniTech is an Ethiopian social enterprise established in 2016 in Addis Ababa. In collaboration with Ethiopian schools, its runs a program called ‘OmniCoders’, an after-school program that aims to empower high school students, especially girls, with the digital skills that are required for the 21st century and increase their awareness about technology.

La Petite Damba is a family-owned Guinean food processing and packaging company based in Conakry, Guinea. Established in 2016 it works to empower farmers and improve the quality of local producers. Its ultimate goal is to increase Guinea’s agricultural exports.

PSM is a Cameroonian company led by Chief Executive Officer and Founder Andre Serge Mousseni. An agricultural business, PSM works on in the cultivation, production and commercialization of Ndikinimeki peppercorn, and aims to become Cameroon’s leading producer of indigenous peppercorn.

Smart Diagnosis is a South Korean company providing HRV (heart rate variability) data by automatically recording a human pupil from a smart-phone camera to assist with personal healthcare and medical treatment in hospitals for faster and better diagnosing and monitoring of cardiovascular and mental diseases.

SiyaBuddy is a South African recycling company based in Steenbok Village. The company provides indirect jobs to more than 1,000 individuals of which 80% are female. It is currently developing a system to commercialize the use of black soldier fly larvae to produce compost.

For more information on WEDF 2019, please visit

Note to the Editor

About ITC - The International Trade Centre is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

For more information, visit

International Trade Centre

Jarle Hetland, Media Officer
P: + 41 22 730 0145
M: + 41 79 582 9180
E: hetland [at] (hetland[at]intracen[dot]org)