Press releases

Siyabuddy announced winner of WEDF 2019 Young Social Entrepreneurs pitching competition

22 November 2019
ITC News
• Siyabuddy of South Africa wins judges over with innovative solution to recycle waste, create jobs
• World Export Development Forum puts accent on inclusiveness, sustainability and youth
• More than 200 companies conducts over 1,000 meetings, strike business deals

(Geneva-Addis Ababa) – Siyabuddy of South Africa was today announced winner of the World Export Development Forum 2019 Young Social Entrepreneurs pitching competition. Siyabuddy beat off competition from social start-ups from Cameroon, Ethiopia and Guinea to take the grand prize of $5,000 in seed funding provided by the International Trade Centre. The World Export Development Forum 2019 was organized in partnership with Impact Hub Geneva’s Accelerate2030 programme, IceAddis, the Pierre Castel Foundation and the United States Mission to the African Union.

Siyabuddy, a recycling and waste management company based in Steenbok Village, won the panel of judges over with the quality of its pitch, its social impact on poor people through employment creation and for presenting a business model that can easily be replicated. Siyabuddy is currently developing a system to commercialize the use of black soldier fly larvae to produce compost. The company provides indirect jobs to more than 1,000 individuals, 80% of whom are female. Siyabuddy was founded by Siyabonga Tshabalala and Nomuntu Ndhlovu and 25% of its shares are owned by employees.

All finalists will benefit from a consultation provided by Sidley Austin to determine their eligibility for free legal services.

Receiving the award on behalf of Siyabuddy, Siyabonga Tshabalala, said: ‘I am extremely grateful and proud to receive this prize. And I would like to urge youth to return to their countries, identify problems and create solutions for their communities. We have to work together to create a better world.’

During a World Export Development Forum session, finalists of the Young Social Entrepreneurs pitching competition – all aiming to demonstrate concrete contributions to Sustainable Development Goals 4 and 8 (quality education, and decent work and economic growth) – presented their pitches to a jury of business and trade experts. In addition to Siyabuddy, the competing enterprises were Ethiogreen, Ethiopia; G&H Blockchain, Ethiopia; OmniTech, Ethiopia; Petite Damba, Guinea and PSM, Cameroon.

The pitching contestants had 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, and AU-EU Youth Hub representative, the Gambia; and Charles Ofori, Co-founder, Dext Technology, a Ghanaian start-up that won the 2018 Young Social Entrepreneurs Competition.

The judges made 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.

Sustainability and inclusiveness

The Young Social Entrepreneur pitching competition was the culmination of three days of engaging discussions during the World Export Development Forum 2019. During the event, high-level speakers and participants explored ways to ensure that the African Continental Free Trade Area is implemented in a sustainable way. They called on African leaders to ensure that AfCFTA implementation is designed to be inclusive, paying particular focus to women, youth and small business.

Closing the week, ITC Executive Director Arancha González said: ‘Among the 1,000 people who came this week hundreds of connections were made. Because that’s what WEDF and the future of trade in Africa is all about: connecting, sharing, and learning.’

‘They tell me that Addis Ababa means “New Flower” and we’ve seen the blossoming of many new flowers this week.’

African Union Commissioner for Trade Albert M. Muchanga said: ‘This has been an extremely successful event and we applaud the partnership with Ethiopia and ITC. When institutions come together miracles can happen. The implementation of AfCFTA will enhance, not just integration in African, but Africa's participation in global trade.’

Mesganu Arga Moach, Ethiopia’s State Minister for Trade and Industry, said: ‘I call upon those who have made commitments during WEDF 2019 to turn those into tangible actions on the ground. The effect of the AfCFTA goes beyond trade and will trickle down to all areas of the economy. If we make our systems work for the marginalized, it will have benefit everyone.’

The three-day event also featured a series of inspirational sessions covering issues such access to finance, digital transformation, entrepreneurship and making trade more sustainable in battle against climate change.

Striking business deals, growing markets

The World Export Development Forum 2019 also proved a big success for the many companies and investors attending the event to do business. Over four days 300 companies from 30 countries held over 1,000 business-to-business meetings generated business leads worth an estimated between $6 million and $14 million. The companies came from Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the USA, underscoring the importance of the World Export Development Forum as a place to also do business.

The World Export Development Forum 2019 – themed Trade and Invest in One Africa – was organized by ITC, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, and the African Union in Addis Ababa on 20-22 September. The event was organized in partnership with CGTN Africa; the Enhanced Integrated Framework; Ethiopian Airlines; the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectorial Associations; the European Union; and USAID.

The next edition of the World Export Development Forum will be held in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, in August 2020.

Notes 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.

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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)