Benyam Bisrat, 35, is one of the young Ethiopian business leaders that are increasingly steering the country's robust economy. Studying business management at York University in Canada, he returned to Ethiopia to become chief executive of the Jupiter Hospitality Group in 2006. Currently, the group manages two hotels, but it is developing a further 10 throughout the country.
As Jupiter International Hotel increases its presence in Ethiopia, Bisrat - the founder and chief executive of parent company Jupiter Hospitality Group -speaks exclusively to African Business and describes the company's business, the strategic opportunities he is pursuing; and the prospects for the industry and the group.
Within five years you have built two hotels and are well on the way to establishing a flagship brand. How did you do it?
The Jupiter Hospitality Group (JHG) was founded with the objective of building a strong local hospitality brand that might compete with the international hotels. We felt there was real demand for a mid-range hotel, for those people who want the quality and comfort of a good hotel at affordable rates. In fact, we believe that demand is still there, probably stronger than ever before, and that is why we are very positive about the growth opportunities for JHG.
What is your growth strategy?
We see opportunities not just in hotels, but also in the time-share sector and building conference centres. We are also actively exploring ownership and third-party management contract possibilities in all these areas. Furthermore, we are interested in forming a consortium with international medical operators to introduce medical tourism as well as developing a well-rounded hospitality portfolio of water parks, golf courses, recreation centers, as well as good value hotels throughout the country, strategically located along the major road...