RENEW Strategies

U.S. Senators Visit RENEW Portfolio Companies

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Emily Ziethen
| August 25, 2015


This past weekend, a group of special guests were greeted at the gates of Mama Fresh Injera’s manufacturing facility in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Senator Christopher Coons from Delaware (Chairman of the Senate’s Subcommittee on African Affairs), Senator Jeffrey Merkley from Oregon (Member of the Senate’s Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs), Judith Pryor (Vice President, Office of External Affairs, OPIC), Dennis Weller (Mission Director for USAID Ethiopia), and other distinguished staff members came to the production site to visit with team members of Mama Fresh Injera PLC and East Africa Emergency Services LTD (EAES), whose partner organization Tebita Ambulance and Pre-Hospital Emergency Medical Service PLC (TEBITA) parked ambulances outside. Members of the Impact Angel Network from Oregon and Delaware have invested in both Mama Fresh and EAES, making the visit all the more special.

The senators spent several days in Ethiopia as a stop on their Africa trip to conduct meetings and site visits related to USAID and other U.S. government interests in the region.

The visit started with a presentation by TEBITA’s operations manager, Yitages Mengistu, during which he provided a general overview of the company, their plans for the future and how much they have achieved to date. The senators and their delegation asked questions about the logistics and vision of the company, and saw the newest additions to TEBITA’s ambulance fleet that the company recently purchased and started using to transport patients.

In May 2015, the Impact Angel Network established EAES to provide business development, procurement and administrative support for local emergency service providers, such as TEBITA - the first private sector ambulance company in Ethiopia. TEBITA, with the assistance of EAES, aims to be the leading emergency medical services (EMS) provider in East Africa and the EMS hub for Ethiopia. To date, the company has transported more than 30,000 patients in Ethiopia, and these numbers will continue to rise as the company expands operations. In addition to local emergency services, the company will continue to provide remote and international emergency evacuation services to U.S. citizens and other foreigners working in or visiting Ethiopia. EAES and TEBITA would also like to pursue long-term partnerships with U.S. medical organizations.

Photo Courtesy of USAID

The visit continued with a tour of Mama Fresh’s injera manufacturing facility, including a close look at the teff grinding room, injera dough room, injera baking room and packaging room. The Impact Angel Network’s investment in Mama Fresh in January 2014 helped finance a modern manufacturing and export facility. The delegation was impressed with the facility and how Mama Fresh manages the various production inputs it uses to transform teff grains into a delicious staple bread product. They were also impressed with the reach of the company’s global sales and distribution network, which spans across three continents. The tour concluded with a sampling of classic Ethiopian dishes alongside Mama Fresh’s world-famous injera.

The IAN’s investment is enabling Mama Fresh to create jobs in the local economy as well - the company employs 83 individuals and works with more than 300 rural farmers who supply teff and other raw materials. Mama Fresh is also looking to explore new market opportunities for injera, including the growing gluten-free markets in the U.S. and Europe.

The visit was a resounding success. RENEW is excited and proud to have shared the accomplishments of Mama Fresh and EAES with such a distinguished group of guests.

To find out more about RENEW or the Impact Angel Network, contact us at renew@renewstrategies.com or follow us on Twitter @RENEWLLC.


The senators’ visit to Ethiopia and the work RENEW and the IAN are accomplishing together in East Africa would not be possible without the support of USAID and RENEW’s development partners.