Timbu.com, a Mauritian travel site, has announced plans to invest $500k in support of the Ethiopian Government agenda. The travel agency, focused on African destinations, is currently a market leader in Nigeria and other West African countries and now aims to grow its presence in East Africa by bringing in foreign direct investment.
The Timbu funding will be exclusive to innovative startups solving real issues in the hospitality niche, with most of the focus being on startups around the curated travel (one of the fastest-growing segments of the travel industry). However, there are plans to expand into other niches down the line.
Making the announcement, the company's media representative said the need to begin investing in early-stage startups in Ethiopia was borne out of the need to grow the existing tech ecosystem in the country, in support of the government's plan to improve the tech entrepreneurial space, and provide entrepreneurs with the necessary resources to grow the country's startup scene. She further noted that Timbu looks to provide more than just initial investment. "We intend to reinvest any profit realised from our initial investment to create physical and online spaces that will help tech entrepreneurs collaborate and grow", she said.
Timbu recently began a selection process in certain Eastern African countries to determine eligible startups that will enjoy a seed funding from the company to help kick start their business. The travel agency is bringing in FDI in Ethiopia in response to the government’s ongoing plan of "unleashing a transformational change through tapping into the creativity and ambition of existing and aspiring Ethiopian entrepreneurs," as stated by the Chief Executive of the government agency looking after the Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP) scheme. Timbu projects that the growth of local businesses will accelerate and the government will be able to build a solid structure around the development to facilitate further growth.
As Timbu moves to initiate talks with relevant government officials to make this happen, it is their hope that a profitable agreement would be reached soon, in order for startups in Ethiopia to begin enjoying direct government support.