It’s time for us to build the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Tanzania
I sit here and look at the graphical image(below) representing Africa Best Startup Cities measuring the number of startups, the quality of startups and the business environment of the startup. I can’t stop at being happy with how we as Africans have grown exponentially just between 2015 and 2017 you could clearly say that startups from Africa have been getting a lot of attention and huge investment has been poured to African startups.
Looking at the Tanzania startup ecosystem, I see so much hope for the startups in my country and I see a lot that we need to do for us to get to a stage where we will be having the best-supporting grounds and ecosystem for our startups. And with such thinking, I believe the time has come for all of us, that are involved in one way or another in this startup ecosystem be it as leading the innovation end, funders, accelerators, founders, hubs, researchers, training institutions, governments, and all others. The time has come for stakeholders to understand that this is not a one-man show but rather this is a show that all of us are equally important and one tiny mistake by one stakeholder may be fatal to the growth of the whole startup ecosystem in Tanzania. I do also believe we need to move from the innovation ecosystem to the startup ecosystem as it has been well explained by startup commons.
We can not continue to work in silos as Tanzanians involved in the growth of our startup ecosystem. We need to learn and observe the challenge we have been facing in growing our ecosystem so that we can transition towards the startup ecosystem or Entrepreneurial ecosystem. What I am saying here is, we are going to waste more time and resources if we still continue this same path, I do believe if we learn(because it is a process) to coordinate our efforts with each other we can best invest our resources and all of us can benefit from the investment we are all pouring. To dive deep into the statement shared, the point really here is the fact that I would love to hear how the different accelerator programs that are being run in Tanzania are in one way or another helping startups shape their ideas for better? And if actually growth is happening within the startups, and if there are some lessons to share for future accelerators(I am not trying to attack accelerators but I have used this point for all of us to reflect on). Because if we do not check we may think that we are helping or growing the sector through the activities undertaken, which could be anything from providing them pitch platforms to providing them with seed funds. We need to critically ask ourselves what else can we do to grow these businesses, what players are still missing in the ecosystem and how do we invite them or how can one take such space instead of repeating similar efforts(and increase competition amongst players)
We can take some learning from our neighbors Kenya with what the government did for the entrepreneurs, mostly technology entrepreneurs. Our government in Tanzania needs to take some serious learning and get into the game with the entrepreneurs and actually support us. “In Kenya, we have heard about President Uhuru took time to visit the hubs in Kenya in the year 2015 to see what was happening and learn from the entrepreneurs, which lead to Nailab receiving a contribution of the U.S. $1.6 million contributions from the Kenyan government. Also, a presidential decree opened 30 percent of public contracts to young entrepreneurs, especially in software and hardware. The government has also committed U.S. $10.7 million to Enterprise Kenya, an effort to link local businesses with international markets.” As quoted by an article by citylab.
I believe these efforts from the private sector can take us to a certain level of success and we can start to taste our vision. I would like to call for everybody in this ecosystem to open doors and allow new ways of thinking and collaborations to take roots. But while at it let us not forget the people from the Government especially the ones in power and if you can please invite the President and the prime minister as well, it is time for them to see the hard work we have been putting to grow startups and the ecosystem in Tanzania.
Why the agenda?
At TrueMaisha Training Company for 2020, we have committed our services to prepare youth for employment, support early-stage startups, Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) and Corporate. We would like to believe that as much as we have placed ourselves on a tough corner, we still greatly believe it is high time to serve the bottom producers and bring ideas and startups that believe they can grow our entrepreneurial ecosystem. Some of the initiatives we have started at TrueMaisha that we believe are helping us at accomplishing our vision includes Youth Skills Development Program of which for the last three (3)years we have been working closely with Don Bosco VTC in training their students, In 2019 we started BiasharaForum program a Tanzania Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME’s) Business Development Information and service (BDS) forum that runs events and workshops, and we advocate for Social Entrepreneurship through TrueMaisha Social Entrepreneurship Forum and Social Entrepreneurship Empowerment for youth in Tanzania famously know as TUJENGE TZ Innovation Challenge, and our flagship program which is TrueMaisha Managers Gala event, the event brings together Executives from corporate business value chain in Tanzania to discuss challenges that face their business and share opportunities for overcoming these challenges. It is in us to see our country taking positive steps towards growth
We are and believe in is the importance of bringing people together and be part of the collective solution. In so doing TrueMaisha play the role of being a facilitator to these gathering and a convener. As these events with different stakeholders play a huge role in informing our standing and allow us to serve our clients better in our training consultation services. We are not saying that we are the experts, we are saying we are taking up the challenge and we would love for other stakeholders that believe in what we are trying to achieve, to join us in this journey we have set forth.
We are here to empower our clients’ potential, be it individually or as an entity. And here to take part in the growth of our Tanzania Entrepreneurial Ecosystem.
Adrian Nzamba serves as the Director of Operations and Trainer for TrueMaisha Training Company Limited.