YOUNG digital entrepreneurs have the opportunity to develop their startups into big companies and create jobs after Vodacom Tanzania and Smart Lab Company teamed to support them.
The two companies, yesterday, launched a programme dubbed ‘Vodacom Digital Accelerator’ which intends to provide opportunities to startup businesses, via technological paths which will result into workable business models to benefit communities, especially scores of youth across the country.
Vodacom Tanzania Managing Director, Hisham Hendi explained that the initiative, to be run yearly, is aimed at identifying and supporting startup entrepreneurs in mobile, telecoms, media, health, education, and e-commerce.
“The programme will help early-stage and growthstage technology startups to become profitable and revenue- generating businesses,” Mr Hendi stated at a press conference in Dar es Salaam.
He encouraged more youth to be innovative and take advantage of this opportunity as a path to economic empowerment, through solving social developmental issues in their communities.
“Vodacom always aims to create impactful sustainable change in the society where we operate in line with our strategic business focus,” he added.
He further elaborated that as a company which aims at taking Tanzanians into the digital world, Vodacom Tanzania encourages technologydriven ideas that bring sustainable change.
“Digital technology is not only changing the way we do business in Africa, but also revolutionizing the way we perceive and solve issues of development. It is therefore with great honor that we will once again create an opportunity for such ideas to be recognized, supported and transformed to maximize social impact,” he said.
Smart Codes Chief Executive Officer, Edwin Bruno shared his excitement for the new programme saying that, “We are excited to be part of the “Vodacom Accelerator” and together with Vodacom we hope to create a brandbuilding platform for the tech-savvy youth.
He said the innovation community has mushroomed in Tanzania from just a handful of hubs in 2011 to more than 45 in 2019, but there has been a slower involvement from the corporate side whereas Vodacom in this partnership with Smart Lab will lead in bridging that gap.
Vodacom Director of Corporate Affairs, Rosalynn Mworia said Vodacom is investing more than 150,000 US dollars into the accelerator programme which will go towards educating and empowering Tanzanian youth.
During the programme, which also aims at leveraging corporate resources, networks, mentors, and partners, participants will present their progress to a panel of investors and associates at the end of a 3-month acceleration period from which winners will get further support from Vodacom Tanzania Plc, Smart Lab, and partners for an added period of six months.