On Thursday, January 23rd 2020 Smart Lab, HDIF and the UN Global Compact hosted the first episode of the Innovation Power Breakfast for Corporate series at Protea Hotel by Marriott Dar es Salaam, The Courtyard.
The Innovation Power Breakfast series aims at exploring the Tanzanian context and innovations that address sustainable challenges, increased uptake of locally sourced innovations, innovation hubs that can serve as research and development labs for the corporate sector and innovations that can serve to future proof for the Corporates.
This event assembled almost 21 people from various sectors ie; the banking industry, Construction, auditing firms, development partners, startups, some stakeholders from the innovation ecosystem and many others. The event started with a discussion on what innovation is, its importance to Tanzania in general and how it can change our society but more importantly the importance of corporates tapping in to it and collaborating with the growing innovation ecosystem to spark change in businesses and the economy of Tanzania as a whole.
The discussion went on into the current state of the Tanzanian Ecosystem. We had a good number of startups that were taken as an example of local innovations that have used technology to solve real challenges in the Tanzanian community. There were more explanations on the current state of collaboration between the innovation ecosystem and the corporates. It was stated that not many corporates are involved in the innovation ecosystem.
Although there is very low involvement of the corporate companies in the Innovation Ecosystem of Tanzania there were good examples of successful corporations that have visible impact taking a good example of M-paper and Ubongo. We also had one of the CEOs explaining how his company invested in innovation through an accelerator program, that is the Vodacom Digital Accelerator, collaborating with Smart Lab being one of the key players in the Innovation Ecosystem of Tanzania. He further explained the importance of corporates working hand in hand with the Innovation Ecosystem to foster change in business and the Tanzanian community.
Lastly there were various comments and suggestions from the people that attended. They were moved by the growth of the Tanzanian Innovation Ecosystem, they were glad to be updated on the efforts being made to increase innovation in business and Tanzania in general. They were interested to know how innovation can be viable and relevant in their companies and how they can participate. They also called for the key players in the innovation Ecosystem to try and come up with discussions that will help corporate companies state their challenges so that they can pick out the problems they are facing as corporate companies when bringing in the topic of collaboration.
In a nutshell the corporate companies were encouraged to engage with the Innovation Ecosystem to push innovation in our country but mostly to keep an open mindset of supporting innovators and founders struggling to solve various problems in business and in our society. Some of the take out key points were, what are the corporates doing to support innovation, how can they be involved? And what do we do to involve them with the Innovation Ecosystem?
We hope that the Innovation Power Breakfast event keeps being a platform for corporate companies and key players in the Innovation Ecosystem to come together, have fruitful conversation that will give birth to impactful collaborations between the corporate sector and the Innovation Ecosystem to foster change through innovation and technology in general.