Slightly over five (5) years ago, the startup boom was yet to influx the Tanzanian Market. The common path for graduates was (to be fair, still is) to complete their college education, and apply at audit firms or banks, to secure their future.
As we progress, the narrative seem to change, more young people with drive to succeed are opting to start their own tech-driven businesses that will offer solutions that their society needs. It makes sense, after all, how can few corporations feed the larger than life talent pool that is yet to be employed? It does make sense, this young population is tech savvy, refuses to wait for an invite at the table, they opt to break down doors and create their own.
Thus, the need for Incubator Hubs to take these startups under their wings, to prepare them for the market. The hubs serve as a bridge between these businesses and the environment, they operate in. They support the establishment of these businesses with enough infrastructure, in the name of upholding entrepreneurship and innovation.
Ennovate Hub is a Startup Incubator based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. I first came through the work they do through their Leaders’ Linkedin Page Francis Omorojie. I was intrigued and curious to understand more on the work they have done and startups they have taken under their program.
After approaching Francis, who was so kind and helpful, I learnt that the Idea to establish the hub, was borne out of his realization of the market need to foster the growth of startups. During the program, Entrepreneurs who have an idea and want to start a tech-driven company/business, are facilitated with knowledge on business basics, marketing, research, technology, compliance, regulations and also networking. It gives them access to various stakeholders and nurturing environment for knowledge transfer within the community.
These startups go on to graduate and enter the market after the program comes to an end. The Hub currently has operations in Dar es Salaam and Mwanza working with startups in various Industries. Their portfolio features Insurtech, Consumer IOT, Supply Chain & Logistics Tech, HealthTech and Fintech startups.
How it Works?
The Ennovate Team launches the Incubator Program and calls for application. Start-Ups apply, for which the Ennovate Team shortlist them to a number of ten (10) based on parameters such as Idea Scalability, Market Readiness, the experience the Founder has, Business Model and so much more. The startups chosen then go through a five (5) months program, after which they get to present to stakeholders on Demo Day. Depending on the performance, top three (3) of the ten are chosen to finish the program for the remaining 6 months, and graduate to the market. The startups get to learn about their regulatory environment in the Industry they work in, the compliance process, the market behavior, how to build a successful business model and also get a chance to be mentored by Industry Level experts.
Most of the startups applications they receive are founded by Men as compared to women. The rough statistics which lies on an 80% Male founded compared to 20% Female Founded, is a bit appalling. This is due to current Financial Climate, where Bulge Bracket Investors such as Larry Fink of Black Rock urges that Start-Ups seeking IPO without Women on their Board of Directors, risk not being funded.
It genuinely raises a question, are there not enough Female Entrepreneurs in Tanzania? Do they lack courage to step forward? Is culture a reason that women do not start companies? Are women’s family centred approach, forcing them to opt to being employed other start businesses of their own? Truth is, few women in Tanzania are in the startup space compared to those in the Employment space.
Here are some the startups that Ennovate has worked with;
- MyHI – InsurTech
- LyfPlus -HealthTech
- DASH – Logistics
- Ona Creatives – E- Commerce
- Afrika Chai – Organic Drinks
Ennovate Hub has attracted influential attendees who attend Demo Day to shop for pitches that they would be interested in funding or collaborate with them. NMB, Vodacom, Pontem Ventures, Tigo, Standard Bank, HDIF are some of the attendees in these events.
Their Idea Marathon 2.0 recently took place, which called for applications for the program. Ennovate collaborated with other tech hubs and organizations, whom during the program duration, will work collectively to educate and equip these startups with the knowledge and expertise they need, to eventually be market players.
Image: Idea Marathon 2.0, featuring it’s collaborators
This all seems interesting, however it is no easy task. There is still more to be done. In our market, fintech and e-commerce startups are what is common, and this can be accredited by the success that names like MaxMalipo, Tala, Mobile Network Operators (M-PESA, TIGOPESA, AIRTELMONEY etc), Jumia, Tunakopesha and so many more. Nevertheless, more technology needs to revamp other sectors and industries. The Nation needs more startups in the Legal Space, Agriculture, Hospitality, Health, Food, Supply Chain, Sports, Real Estate, Energy, Mining and so many more.
More stakeholders and private investors should also be on the forefront to support these businesses, which yes, may be small, but carry an enormous potential to contribute towards the economy through the number of jobs they are expected to create. The presence of startups in the market attribute to new ideas being presented, which is a catalyst for more innovation and competition, which serves the economy well. And who better than the talented pool in Tanzania, to usher in the new normal?
Applications to the Idea Marathon 2.0 Program are now open, click here to submit.
Follow Ennovate Hub on Linkedin here
Access Ennovate Hub website here
Article originally published on LinkedIn