March 2019

Mella March Event

Some Fun Facts

Successful Event
Fascinating Entrepreneurs
Video produced
It was an honor hearing from Ethiopia’s youngest tech pioneer – Betelhem Dessie at our March Mella Monthly event. At 19-years-old, Betelhem is the current CEO of iCog -Anyone Can Code and leads the “Solve IT” program at iCog whilst also owning seven patents; four of the patents are privately owned by her, while the remaining three are in collaboration with other organizations.
Betelhem shared with us her inspiring journey. Born in Harrar, Betelhem grew up playing around her father’s electronics shop. When she turned 9 Betelhem wanted money to celebrate her birthday, but busy at work her father didn’t pay much attention to her request, this made Betelhem take matters into her own hands. She edited video’s and sent music to customer’s phones at her father’s store. With this self-starter attitude, she collected 90 dollars to celebrate her birthday.

Motivated by the money at first, Betelhem went on to design a website by reading books on the internet to expand her then thriving business. Her incredible skills at such a young age created a buzz around Harrar, that the local media covered her story and later she was invited to exciting events. Opportunities for Betelhem grew, she was introduced to the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, she was invited to work at INSA and then finally Tecno. Betelhem also spoke about following her father’s advice; to always speak at events she was invited to and the necessity to build a well-organized team and to always communicate effectively with the team. Watch the full interview to hear the whole story.

Betelhem Dessie, CEO of iCog-Anyone Can Code


Ayalew Taye, Co-owner and Manager of GoFigure Addis joined us for our event in March. We were inspired by his journey and the tips he shared throughout the evening. Ayalew was born in Agarfa a small town located in Bale. When he was young his father won the DV lottery and moved to the states. While attending high school, Ayalew became a field and track athlete then later in college, Ayalew was a division one NCCA athlete for 5 years, while also working at a fitness center.

When his wife decided to move to Ethiopia to finish her P.H.D in Ethiopian History, Ayalew decided to join her. To support himself he first looked for jobs in NGO’s, because of his Master’s in International Affairs, but later after closely absorbing the environment in Addis, he decided to create his own western inspired coffee shop, an idea that later was turned into a fitness center.

To make his dreams reality ayalew faced many challenges, to name a few, getting through government bureaucracy, finding qualified skills for the job, and getting through the culture of working out being seen as a luxury. Ayalew claimed one of the reasons he was able to push through the challenged was, his experience in athletics’, where his constant training and getting through challenges were the main determinant for his success. Watch the full interview to hear the whole story.

Ayalew Taye, Co-owner and Manager of GoFigure Fitness


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