Three tech startups wins Vodacom Digital Accelerator season II

Three tech startups have emerged top winners of the Vodacom Digital Accelerator programme season II and will be awarded over 200m/- as value based support and potential of follow on investments.

The winning start-ups were selected after a rigorous pitching event before expert judges and a public voting process. The winners are namely BizyTech through their Kilimo Bando product, Smart Darasa and Twenzao.

The Director General of the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) Dr Amos Nungu commended Vodacom Tanzania for their efforts in supporting early-stage and growth-stage technology startups with disruptive products and services that have the potential to be brought into the market and scale into profitable, revenue-generating businesses.

“This is a notable initiative to grow Tanzanian tech startups across the country we all know how advancements in science and technology have impacted communities socially and economically around the world. COSTECH acknowledges these efforts and our doors are open for support,” he said.

He added, “I would like to urge other companies and individuals who are passionate about technology to support such initiatives as Vodacom Digital Accelerator or establish others like this one.

The objective is to have as many as we can so that we can reach more tech startups across the country, our societies are still facing many challenges that require technological solutions,”

The Vodacom Digital Accelerator programme sponsored by Vodacom Tanzania and run by SmartLab is the only corporate accelerator in the Tanzania innovation ecosystem and its Curriculum is tailor-made for startups’ growth.

Now in its second season, the accelerator has received over 700 applications since its launch in 2019 with 28 startups being part of the programme and receiving assistance in developing their marketing strategies, technical aspects, and connections with potential investors and partners.

In this second cohort, 12 start-ups were selected from different sectors including fintech, health, e-commerce, education, agriculture, and cybersecurity industries.

On his part, Vodacom Tanzania Managing Director, Mr Phillip Besiimire said was proud to see that the programme has encouraged the participants to come up with tech-solutions to tackle challenges facing agriculture, education and transport sectors in the society.

“I am proud to see most of the tech-startups founders are young and energetic with lots of innovative ideas which could benefit a great deal the Tanzanian society in the future.

But the highlight of this programme is to see a woman top the overall winner something that could challenge the status quo. You have witnessed that most of the founders and CEOs of most of the 12 tech startups are men and so is their managerial structure.

One of the winners who is founder and CEO of BizyTech through their Kilimo Bando product Ms Isabella Fernandes said, “it was quite an experience to participate and get an opportunity to present a pitch for our company with other innovative tech startups.

Apart from being announced as an overall winner, I am highly convinced that Tanzania has reached a stage where we can compete in bigger tech platforms,”

Vodacom Tanzania, Director of Digital Services, Nguvu Kamando said, “The judges had a hard time selecting a winner because you all had great business ideas. It is inspiring to see young people turn technology-driven solutions into revenue-generating businesses.

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