The United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Human Development Innovation Fund (HDIF) and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Dar es Salaam have launched a recovery and resilience innovation challenge to revitalise Tanzania’s economy and social welfare.
The programme also seeks to enable innovators to contribute to the country’s economic and social recovery and ultimate resilience amidst the global Covid-19 pandemic.
HDIF Country Director Joseph Manirakiza said the aim of the challenge was to showcase, coach and ultimately award the best small businesses with innovative products, services or business models that were in their nature resilient to market shocks or contributed to their respective sectors’ recovery.
“Special preference in this challenge will be given to youth and women-owned businesses,” Mr Manirakiza said in a statement.
The Recovery and Resilience Innovation Challenge, which is implemented by Seedspace Dar es Salaam and NdotoHub, calls for applications to find, support, and amplify innovative market-ready startups from Tanzania.
“Innovations should be beyond the idea stage and must have been already piloted in Tanzania and be ready for scaling,” the country director said.
Entrepreneurs joining the programme will get an opportunity to receive training and funds to help accelerate their businesses.
“Participating businesses must use innovation to address gaps observed during the Covid-19 crisis and present solutions that will make them and the sector they operate in more resilient to future crises,” he said.
The Netherlands strongly believes that it is important to support and expose small businesses with innovative and Covid-19 proof business solutions that are contributing to a more resilient Tanzanian entrepreneurial ecosystem – one that can continue functioning in the face of disruptions and economic slowdowns.
Ms Lianne Houben, Deputy Ambassador of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, has said they particularly want to support youth and women-owned led enterprises most affected by the pandemic.
“That is why the Netherlands supports this initiative, exposing and awarding potentially highly resilient innovations in Covid-19 times that could function as role models for others and for the sector they operate in on how to become more resilient in future shocks,” she said.
In light of the pandemic, the programme seeks to better equip entrepreneurs to become more resilient in unprecedented times. The resilience training programme will help them develop strategies for shock absorption in the case of unforeseen events in the future.
This programme will take on board 20 Tanzanian youth entrepreneurs with innovative, market ready solutions.
From this cohort, 10 entrepreneurs will be awarded with funds and a three-month follow-up programme.
UNDP believes that supporting the youth in Tanzania to innovate and become successful entrepreneurs can help achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targets for Tanzania, create economic development and foster self-reliance.
“We are proud of funding programmes like this and continue supporting Tanzanian innovators and the growth of a young and vibrant private sector,” said Christine Musisi, UNDP Resident Representative.
About one million young people enter the Tanzanian job market annually. In recent years, the majority of them have chosen to engage in innovation and self-reliance.
This programme will not only support business growth, but will also inspire more young people to venture into entrepreneurship and business creation.
The programme will also serve as a blueprint and a learning experience for other entrepreneurs in similar operational sectors on how to become more resilient in future shocks.
Taking into consideration SDGs, the programme’s target sectors are tourism, agribusiness, health, education and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (Wash) with a special focus on the youth and women-led startups.