AfricaPress-Tanzania: THE information technology has transformed the way companies produce and sell their goods and services, while opening up new markets and new business models.

This has opened up vast opportunities for businesses, institutions and individuals to engage on the new digital space bringing about transformation across all sectors in our economy.

From the historical perspective, innovation has proven to be an essential driver of economic progress that benefits consumers, businesses and the economy as a whole, like how the steam engine and electricity transformed the way did things over 100 years ago.

Innovation described from the economic point of view is the development and application of ideas and technologies that improve goods and services or make their production more efficient.

In Tanzania for example, telecom operators have contributed immensely in supporting the growth of innovation ecosystem that ultimately impacted on the business expansion and service development.

Taking example of Vodacom Tanzania, the telecom firm has been playing a key role in setting up network infrastructure, in order to facilitate growth of digital engagement.

According to Vodacom, the stage is already set and improvements are being made to increase user experience.

“We have Vodacom Supa Network infrastructure in place, providing unrivalled speed, reliability and vast coverage across Tanzania, the Director of Digital and value added services at Vodacom Tanzania, Nguvu Kamando said. We have not stopped there, we continue to invest in innovation to develop its growth and have impact to the community by guiding, supporting and shaping young brilliant minds.”

The Vodacom Digital Accelerator programme is a good example of corporate support of the innovation ecosystem.

Vodacom and Smart Codes collaborated in supporting young entrepreneurs develop their business ideas to a workable and profitable venture.

In partnership with Vodacom Tanzania, Smart Lab made it a mission to ensure that startups learn and grow as much as possible throughout the accelerator programme.

The Vodacom Digital Accelerator being among the most impactful local accelerators has shaped startups for almost a year.

Smart Lab and Vodacom believe that the investments made and resources provided will bring a significant change to the growing tech businesses.

“These startups will be provided with technical and marketing support to ensure maximum success. The Vodacom Digital Accelerator programme has been a platform for startups to pitch their revolutionary ideas. Startups have been very participative. We were happy with the large number of applications, which were over 500 startups. This shows the growth of the Innovation Ecosystem in Tanzania. We had many mentors and coaches who conducted insightful workshops, boot camp, and training sessions during the programme that significantly impacted the startups’ growth. Through their journey, there has been significant change and growth depicted in their operations, revenue, customers, and finances,” Kamando said.

Overall winner CEO of Smart Class, a company dealing with connecting students with tutors and learning online, Adam Juma, called for more companies to support start- ups so that innovative business ideas can develop into big successful enterprises.

“I am grateful for the support I have received from Vodacom and Smart Codes that has given me more knowledge and insights on transforming an idea into a working business. I call on other big companies to emulate this initiative so that more local businesses can develop to the next level.”

“The Vodacom accelerator programme was an incredible opportunity for young entrepreneurs; it offered us tailored learning experi ences to grow our businesses to world-class standards. Most importantly, they gave us the reach to the pool of world-class investors and mentors that wouldn’t be possible without this programme,” said Salvatory Kessy, founder of Smart class and overall winner of Vodacom Digital Accelerator programme 2020.

Mansura Mtibora, Cofounder of Ninsiima e-Dispensary, who was second runnerups in the competition, shared her experience on the Vodacom Digital Accelerator programme.

“It’s from Vodacom Digital Accelerator and the knowledge gained there; we manage to strategise our marketing approach and start paying a visit to different media houses. Mentorship from the programme helps us develop many useful documents, which also take us to another milestone, as the document helped us apply to different programmes. We have been qualifying to be part of the programmes, such as The Future is Female Mentorship Programme. We have much appreciation for this. The whole Ninsiima and Ninsiima e-Dispensary team thanks to the exceptional mentors, Smart Lab, and Vodacom. They have taken Ninsiima e-Dispensary to another level. It is my wish for every startup in Tanzania and Africa at large to get a chance to be part of an initiative like Vodacom Digital Accelerator” she explained.

Beltro, a data analytics company, giving companies insights to better understand their consumers, Frederick Apina, the founder of Beltro said, “When we heard about Vodacom Accelerator, we were inspired to be part of it. We saw our participation in the Vodacom Accelerator to bring growth and development potential to our startup. Beltro has benefited from the knowledge, insight, and business opportunities made available by the programme. Participation in the accelerator has been a fantastic experience! It has given us an additional energy boost and driven us to think in new ways.”

Among the key mentors in the Vodacom Digital Accelerator, one of the most successful entrepreneurs Edwin Bruno, CEO and founder of Smart Codes spoke about his experience in business development and investment.

“Vodacom’s Accelerator Programme Tanzania has set a massive example for corporate companies’ participation in the innovation ecosystem. This is a call for all innovators, entrepreneurs, and technologists to push for this kind of initiative that will transform the Tanzanian society by creating groundbreaking solutions, solving the growing unemployment problem in the country, and contributing to the economy”.

“We were happy to hear startups pitch their ideas and had many people tune in to witness innovative companies make their mark in Africa. Smart Lab and Vodacom Tanzania are among the most significant pioneers of Technological growth in the country. They hope to keep being the catalyst for technological advancement and impactful partnerships among stakeholders of the innovation ecosystem,” Bruno said.


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