By Brian Daniel Swai, Communications Associate.
In partnership with Smart Lab, Vodacom Tanzania launched Season 2 of the "Vodacom Digital Accelerator Program" on April 25th, 2022, to support early-stage and growth-stage technology startups with disruptive products and services that have the potential to be brought into the market. The application phase closed on June 30th. The next stage of the program will commence in August, featuring 15 startups with the most innovative tech solutions in Tanzania this year. Let's take you through the highlights of this exciting journey thus far.
Regional Hub & Media Tours across Tanzania
To promote the application phase of the program, we embarked on an info-session tour to visit startups across Tanzania. We visited hub incubators and university innovation programs that enable creative minds to nurture innovative tech solutions, with some already performing well in the market. We were not only inspired by these young upcoming founders but also blown away by how daring their businesses were towards reinventing the new Tanzania that we all anticipate. Allow us to unpack this for you in detail;-
During our visit to the Westerwelle Startups Haus Arusha (WSHA) and Ndoto hub in Arusha, we interacted with many women participating in the innovation ecosystem as tech startup founders. On top of that, Cube Innovation Center, Zanzibar, had most women with digital businesses be a part of their nurturing programs and already have their services established in the island market. Today more than ever, women are more willing to come up with groundbreaking technology ideas that will transform the way we think and act.
Students at the University of Dodoma (UDOM), Mbea University of Science & Technology (MUST) and Institute of Accountancy Arusha (IAA) were a few of the top learning centres that participated in our Vodacom Digital Accelerator info-sessions. University students embraced groundbreaking technological possibilities that can bring forth changes foreseen to recast the country's direction in various aspects, worth our investment. Kiota Hub Innovation Center showed us how to maximize efficiency by bringing students and tech founders for a collaboration that fosters products helping the region thrive through a robust ecosystem.
We also got a chance to communicate with entrepreneurs and innovative founders via TV and regional Radio Stations to discuss topics around technology and entrepreneurship with hundrends of ambitious listeners. Tanzania is a land of opportunities, and young people envision out-of-the-box solutions that come up with technology to bring about socio-economic change with profit-generating businesses.
We are excited to welcome these startups on board for our acceleration phase—bringing forth different mentors and training programs to coach outstanding 15 startups on their journey to pitching and winning a top 3 spot by the end of the 13-week program.
Events: Twitter Spaces Panel Discussions and Innovation Week Workshop
To further promote the power of collaborations and opportunities in the ecosystem, we aspired to engage our stakeholders through collaborative efforts that resulted in panel discussions on twitter spaces and a workshop program during the innovation week.
The twitter spaces gave us an in-depth conversation that engaged more than 1000 members of the ecosystem to identify the risks and opportunities solely in the digital ecosystem and understand how accelerators help the growth of startups in Tanzania. Our inspiring leaders in the ecosystem were ready to open up on what they knowbest and unravel the underlying prospects in optimizing the country's digital economy by empowering the startup community with knowledge and valuable insights.
Smart Lab is an innovation platform that links learning institutions with corporate partners to empower groundbreaking solutions that will impact communities.