Tanzania sets aside Sh1 Billion to support young innovators

Computing

The government has set aside some $700,000 (about Sh1 billion) to assist small entrepreneurs that can develop software and services for the country's Information and Communication Technology (ICT) market.

Under the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (Costech) a programme called Dar Teknohama Business Incubator, has been established with the aim to stimulate growth of technology-based start-up companies in the country.

"The key focus is to help young people to turn their brilliant ideas into business. There are university students who have already developed software that can offer solutions to corporate companies," the progamme chief executive officer George Mulamula told The Citizen in Dar es Salaam.

He was attending the Dar es Salaam version of BarCamp, a platform for open discussions about the current state of the ICT industry that brought together technology developers, start-up enthusiasts and entrepreneurs within and outside Tanzania.

"We hope the industry has great potential to contribute to poverty reduction and wealth creation of individuals and the nation as a whole."

According to Mr Mulamula, the programme helps emerging companies to gain access to mentorship, training, shared space, professional assistance as well as assisting the entrepreneurs with contacts of potential institutions that can provide them with capital for their venture.

The programme is partly-funded by World Bank's Information for Development (InfoDev), the government and also by the private sector.

"We are looking to start up with about 15 both physical and virtual companies and about 25 pre-incubator individuals for this year," he said.

However, according to him, to start with, the focus would be on ICT companies with a turnover of between $20,000 and $60,000.

Also, under the programme, the beneficiaries will be empowered on issues pertaining to intellectual property with the view to protecting their innovations.