Young people “The blessing of our times”
“Young people should be at the forefront of global change and innovation. Empowered, they can be key agents for development and peace. If, however, they are left on society’s margins, all of us will be impoverished. Let us ensure that all young people have every opportunity to participate fully in the lives of their societies.” — Kofi Annan
An important quote to help us reflect on the importance of young people in our society and in the developmental plans we have set for ourselves here in Tanzania and Africa at large. Also, this is to mention that, this article is aiming at pointing out possible areas that young people can be supported to enable the growth of our Country. Meaning, if we are to develop then we have to purposely find ways in which as a nation intentionally we are going to create spaces for young people so they can implement their ideas in growing and developing our lovely country. I personally will bank on the belief that Empowered Tanzanian youth can be a great resource to our nation either as employees, entrepreneurs, and employers to different institutions.
This means the challenges(not problems, because these can be solved) we have been and still are facing as a nation can be solved with the involvement/participation of young people in the equation as an equal partner in solving these challenges. Youth Unemployment, Poverty, lack of access to clean and safe water are among major challenges Tanzanians still face today. And Youth in the form of Social Entrepreneur from Tanzania has already started social enterprises with a mission of solving these pressing challenges as I have mentioned them above. These young Tanzanians include the likes of Steven Matiku (SmartFit — EcoWater), Eco Water has developed a solution to enable access to clean and safe drinking water at a very low cost and in a way which does not endanger our environment with plastic bottles., Andron Mendes (KOPAGAS) who has developed next-generation Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) canister meters equipped with machine-to-machine (M2M) technology in order to enable medium and low-income households to switch away from dirty and expensive charcoal, the list is endless with more young people solving different challenges faced by the majority of us.
These young people and more that could not be mentioned here have established their innovation and launched companies, which means that there is a huge potential for big companies to start partnerships with these young Social entrepreneurs. These partnerships are great business as we have recently heard whereby KOPAGAS a Tanzania company owned by a young Tanzanian has been acquired by Circle Gas Limited at USD 25 Million which is the largest largest-ever pure private equity investment in the clean cooking technology. So as the youth are proving to the big business that we are a great investment too not just great to be featured in a company CSR report showing how we are helping communities.
These young people have ventured in being part of the solution and part of our country’s growth through embarking the Social Entrepreneurship concept, which is doing business for a social cause by putting the general interest of society on top of economic performance. In this way, in social entrepreneurship, profit is no longer the ultimate goal of business but a means to achieve broader goals connected to improving society and the environment. It is a shame that we don’t yet have a category under Business Registration and Licensing Agency in Tanzania but we still have a good number of young Social Entrepreneurs in Tanzania today.
And I would like to invite companies and simply investors of any kind to join the movement started by young Tanzanians of creating profitable businesses that offer solutions to our current problems. And a place to start is by simply being part of the discussions that happen in various events that bring Social Entrepreneurs together and other interested parties, one can start by attending events such as SaharaSparks event organized by Sahara Ventures, Tanzania Social Entrepreneurship Forum organized by TrueMaisha Training Company, Seedstar Dar es Salaam organized by SeedStars, Data Tamasha by Data Lab, and Bits & Bytes event just to mention few.
Because when it comes to supporting or investment the first step is always to familiarize yourself and understand that which you are planning to put your investment on. The next stage after there has been a clear understanding is to have conversation happening between the two parties, investors and possible investees about the needs and support that can be offered so that discussions around the potential partnerships can be started. I am using the term partnership because young social entrepreneurs don’t need a one-time investment, they need partnerships with continuous investment support like technical supports, mentorship, and network for them to be able to build the next big solution in Tanzania.
The year has just started and I believe most companies have already laid down their plans and I am here throwing a suggestion on something that I believe most investors won’t regret pursuing. As it has been well put by Maya Angelou “If you’re always trying to be normal you will never know how amazing you can be”. I have a belief that this year I will see more companies and investors been engaged if not part of most local events happening in Tanzania.
Our ideas can be bankable and we are inviting Tanzania investors to bank on us and help us create a better Tanzania. This is the time we have been waiting for and we are the generation that is going to make Tanzania better for the coming generations. Come support us, challenge us and grow with us!