2 hours with Marieme Jamme at Buni hub

Marieme Jamme from Africa Gathering was in Dar es Salaam in June 2014 to launch the Africa  Progress Panel report in Tanzania.

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Marieme having one on one chat with entrepreneurs at the hub

As part of her four days visit in Dar es Salaam, Marieme spend her last day with the Buni hub community members sharing her life experience and inspire them to dream big and become African champions of success.

During the two hours session she held at the hub, Marieme started by explaining to us the importance of respect and the role it plays in someone’s life success. She explained to the hub members importance of respecting people especially those whom you don’t know who they are or what they do and what role they can play in your life. She explained by giving an example of life as a circle with full of dots and every person you meet in your life and treat them well is one step further in accomplishing your circle  (life’s mission), you can’t afford to miss a dot since you don’t want to have a circle with holes.

“You’re missing opportunities because you are putting obstacles on your way by judging people.” Marieme

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Marieme explaining the VCP model

Marieme shared with the hub members what she call “The Passport of Success” the VCP model to the technology entrepreneurs and community members at the hub as their path towards success. In her VCP model which stands for Visibility, Credibility and Profitability, she was keen to explain to the community members why is it necessary for them to visible, credible and make profit to whatever they do. She said one of the challenges facing the tech hubs in Africa is profitability. It is the time users of tech hubs to start to think very hard on how they can run sustainable and successful businesses to generates profit as a return to the free facilities and resources they are given. She explains her fear of the future of the African tech hubs if this continues.

About visibility, she explained about the positive usage of social media pages and accounts to build your corporate identity. She told entrepreneurs at the hub that, they should use social media to showcase what they are doing and define themselves to the general public with their skills and abilities. She said people should know what you do and your level of competence if you want to have successful businesses and build credibility. What you post on social media, what you comment on forums, articles you wrote and your social media campaigns tend to bring in right people for you to work with and create more opportunities for yourself.

“Be yourself, after they know you, they will like you and then they will follow you. You have to create your own identity and let people understand what you are standing for.” Marieme

She insisted, African entrepreneurs have to work really hard and be very careful on how they manage their time. She encourage hub members to manage their time and frequently analyze themselves and their works, she wanted them to question  themselves questions like, what have I achieved so far ? or What should I do to go to the next stage ?

She also talked about the African entrepreneurs to focus on reducing destructions in their lives if they want to succeed, she advised them to stay focus and get things done with no excuses. She believes failing to deliver to the expectations is something facing most of the African tech entrepreneurs.

MariŽme Jamme - Africa Gathering & Dakar Dragons

Marieme Jamme

She explained about the concept of “The Pizza Base of Africa”, how Africa could share the opportunities available at the continent through collaboration and seizing the opportunities as they come.   She finished by telling the entrepreneurs the secrets of her success which is three things, discipline, consistency and determination and she wanted them to adopt this.  This was one of the great talks we have ever receive at the hub.

About Marieme: Mariéme Jamme is a Senegalese born-British businesswoman who runs a technology consultancy business in London. Her company, Spotone One Global Solutions, helps international technology companies selling enterprise software solutions to set a foothold in Africa, Middle East and Asia. Marieme is best known for her role in promoting technology, good governance, transparency and a better education standard in Africa.

 

Why entrepreneurship is arduous option for Tanzanian youths.

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youths waiting to be interviewed for immigration job posts.

 

Listening to the parliamentary session two days ago, every political leader was eager to speak about the current situation of tremendous increase of unemployed youths in our communities. The government has been exploring different options to counter the issue but the problem is unsettled, and some may choose to say its worsen.

 

“More than 10,000 applicants. Only 70 candidates needed, immigration job posts. Unemployment is a time bomb waiting to explode, government should invest in creating conducive ecosystem for self employment in this country. Entrepreneurship is no longer a luxury it is a necessity in Tanzania.”

The logical escape route from the problem is to build conducive ecosystem to foster entrepreneurship among youth in Tanzania. Decision makers are preaching about entrepreneurship and a lot of campaigns and initiatives have been taken for the past few years to encourage entrepreneurship culture among Tanzanian youths but why, we are still facing the same challenge. Why Tanzanian youths are reluctant to become entrepreneurs?

“ While the total unemployment rate in Tanzania has dropped from 11.7 percent in 2006 to 10.7 percent in 2011, youth unemployment is still an issue of great concern.  More recently, there has been less foreign investment and development assistance from developed nations. Not only must the current global situation be taken into account, the fact that 800,000 to one million youth enter the Tanzanian labor force each year is not to be underestimated. “ His Excellency Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, his article on The Center of Global Health and Diplomacy.

If we can understand the roots of the problem, then it will be very easy to adopt the solution to the problem. First of all we need to understand to create society of entrepreneurs is a collective effort, it is not something that can be done by the government alone or a certain international initiative, it is a role of everyone. The two biggest factors hindering Tanzanian youths to become entrepreneurs is the mindset and the ecosystem.

Speaking about the mindsets, entrepreneurs take risks and make tough decisions. Are we prepared to take risks and learn from the mistakes ? What is the family reaction when a family member who has just graduated want to be an entrepreneur ? What does our education say about entrepreneurship ? Who is an entrepreneur in our society ? Do people understand the importance of vocational training ? I remember sitting with someone few weeks back and that person telling me few years back it took some guts for someone to call himself an entrepreneur, you were considered to be a total loss and someone who have lost the direction. What is the situation now ? are we still there and what should be done, to change that mindset, those are the most important questions we should asks ourselves.  

If the class of people who are attending vocational training and hands on skills training are those who have failed to qualify to enter university or higher education system. What does this say about our perception towards entrepreneurship ?

Getting back to the ecosystem, when I was an entrepreneur, the biggest challenge I faced was formalizing my company. Believe me the process looks very clear but the system is very challenging; The taxation system, the registration system, the flow of information, supportive local markets and weak policies to protects interests of start-ups companies, is what makes entrepreneurship a day dream for most of Tanzanian youths.

“When you start to tax a company from its first day of operation you are simply taxing the capital, the question is how will this entrepreneur survive while his business depends on a bank loan. ? “ Senior local entrepreneur

We can learn from the tax exemption scheme for new start-up companies adopted in Singapore. The system was introduced in Year of Assessment (YA) 2005 to support entrepreneurship and help  local enterprises to grow. Under this scheme, a newly incorporated company that meets the qualifying conditions can claim for full tax exemption on the first $100,000 of normal chargeable income for each of its first three consecutive years.

“The information to register companies and formalize them is limited to the local entrepreneurs and the process is complicated. It takes a lot of effort to incorporate your company as a limited company. Entrepreneurs ended up being conned by brokers who pretend to help them to register their companies and charge them extra. What if the information was streamlined ? How many youth are afraid of opening companies due to these complexities ?” Start-up Owner

Every stakeholder entitled with the position and resources to help entrepreneurs in Tanzania should understand. If we really want to encourage Tanzanian youth to get into entrepreneurship then, we need to reform the system, streamline the information, set policies that will push local markets to them and finally the financial system should be supportive.

“While there has been notable progress in education and training, we must ensure that no reversals in development occur. We must bring back hope for the youth of Tanzania and maintain the security of the African continent.” His Excellency Dr. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania, his article on The Center of Global Health and Diplomacy.

 

Hackathon on changing lives of African children using ICT.

As part of commemorating the African child day On 16th June every year, the African Union and its Partners celebrate the Day of the African Child (DAC), in commemoration of the 1976 protests by school children in Soweto, South Africa. This year’s theme is “A child friendly, quality, free and compulsory education for all children in Africa”

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Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Communication,Science and Technology Dr Patrick Makungu view kids projects at BUNI hub.

BUNI hub is organizing Hackathon on “Solving African Children Problem Using ICT”. As part of the event we will have brainstorming session on the issue and relate how ICT solutions could be used to solve some of those problems.

Next Monday, 16th June we will host the event from 10:00 am – 01:00 pm. You are invited to become a partner or participate in the event. The event is free and open for anyone passionate on solving African children problems to attend. BUNI hub is located at Sayansi, Kijitonyama, COSTECH building, ground floor.

We want to hear your view and opinions on different issues affecting children in Africa. The session will be interesting if individuals from different background come together to attend; not only ICT.  Be the change you want to see. For more details of the hackathon you can email BUNI hub manager jumanne@tanzict.or.tz .

Grassroots innovations in developing knowledge societies in Africa.

 

Grassroots innovation is the bottom-up innovation approach starting from the grassroots. It is usually started from the general public; people without economical influence who are not from the decision making class initiate activities that changes the way they do things innovatively.

Elimu Living Lab in Sengerema

Elimu Living Lab in Sengerema

A paper on grassroots innovation from School of Economic and Management, Wuhan University, China defines grassroots innovation as the innovative activities of improving products, techniques and crafts in a random and extensive way by the grassroots people who have grasped the corresponding techniques and skills. It is a flash in the common people and embodiment of their wisdom.

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Working with the small available resources for the larger impact.

One of the most important aspects of grassroots innovations to the developing societies is the fact that it is sustainable and implementable since people themselves (grassroots people) within the societies take the initiative to establish projects that can help to revolutionize and change the way they do things for positive impacts. Since grassroots innovation uses bottom-up approach is easy to be adopted and localized to meet the environmental needs. Societies can bootstrap and work with the minimum resources possible to implement solutions for problems facing them in real time through collaboration and innovation.

For African countries facing poverty challenges and budgetary constraints, its difficult for governments to implement big cash demanding projects to foster knowledge communities alternatively they could use what already people posses to create low cost collaborative initiatives to build sustainable knowledge communities through grassroots innovations.

Most of the time the solutions coming from the top are facing challenges to be implemented and made to be sustainable since societies fail to adopt with the system and the anticipation challenges” are so high. The decision makers and donor funded initiatives or projects usually tends to anticipate and plan to implement projects that looks adaptable and sustainable and ended up to be white elephant projects. Using bottom-up approach this risk can be reduced to the maximum. When people are incentivised to kick-start their own initiative and receive a minimal support it encourages them to work hard and  be innovative on possible ways of making their projects sustainable.

Tuija Hirvikoski from Laurea University of Applied Sciences on the book “The Knowledge Triangle” emphasizes on this by referring to EU Horizon 2020 challenge-based third pillar, that is, better societies, emphasizes the need to take societal problems themselves as a starting point for corporate and university RDI work. As the old Tanzanian saying “You don’t know the troubles of the house you don’t sleep in”.

Living Labs is one of the concepts that support bottom-up approach of creating knowledge societies. According to the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL), the Living Labs are citizen driven open innovation ecosystems in real-life settings in which innovation is fully integrated into the co-creative, co-design processes for new technologies, products, services, and societal infrastructures.

Learning from Elimu Lab, a living lab in northern Tanzania in a small township of Sengerema, after the discussion with the founder Karol Novat, the first half of the definition of the Living Lab explain the way Living Labs should be be runned and the second part of the definitions emphasises on the output that is to be expected from the process. The impact of these social spaces is startlingly impressive due to the fact the people of the surrounding communities themselves took the initiative to carry out the projects and finding the solutions for their day to day problems.

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Samsung supporting KINU hub with a testing table for developers at the hub.

The public (government) involvement  is essential in helping to build these societal initiatives and make them work. The role of the government is to ensure other stakeholders are being involved in the process. The public-private-people partnership (4Ps) is essential in building knowledge societies using grassroots innovation. Although, the government should be vigilant in the process not to control how things are moving instead to let the people themselves took part in making important decisions affecting their societies through creativity and innovations, this is vital. This will encourage the building of knowledge societies, according to wikipedia, knowledge societies, transform information into resources that allow society to take effective action. The best way to do that is to get the communities themselves involved in the all process stage by stage through bottom-up approach. In the process you will help them to learn and be exposed hence creating knowledge communities.

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University of Dar es Salaam students at Buni Hub.

The involvement of users, universities, public agencies, private entities and other stakeholders in a structure that, there is a value created for each player in the process will help to foster grassroots innovation in developing country hence creating knowledge economies. By working together they will be able to create supportive ecosystem and measure the collective impact of the process which will make easier to realize the challenges and overcome them easily collectively. All stakeholders should know the importance of community involvement in delivering these positive impacts.

The Living Labs, Tech hubs, Incubators, Accelerators and Co-working spaces are the important grassroots innovation initiatives that are helping to build knowledge societies in Africa and building culture of entrepreneurship and innovation. If all the players realized their roles and deliver, and the ecosystem is supportive this will be the most valid path towards knowledge societies in Africa, of course its my personal opinion.

Meet School of Data and Code for Africa at BUNI Hub.

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A Data Expedition in Dar es Salaam coming up

School of Data and Code for Africa are stopping by Dar es Salaam in Tanzania this week. To celebrate this, they will host a  Data Expedition on Data from the Water Ministry and other public data they can surface in Tanzania on:

Friday June 6th from 9:30 to 16:00 at BUNI Hub Join the team and register for free here.

David from Code for Africa and Ketty and Michael from School of Data are in Tanzania this week, mainly to assist the Ministry of Water and the National Bureau of Statistics. To round off the week they will guide a Data Expedition using some of the Data they have worked with. Data Expeditions are an experimental training concept developed by the School of Data to help you start working with data. You will explore different aspects of the data in a small team and learn from each other as well as our trainers in how to best deal with it.

Join the team at:

BUNI Hub
Sayansi-building
Ali Hassan Mwinyi Road, Kijitonyama
P.O. Box 4302
Dar es Salaam

Food and drinks will be provided for. The event is generously hosted by BUNI hub under the TANZICT Project, the World Bank and the Partnership for Open Data. The event will start out at 10am and work until around 4pm – A snack will be provided for lunch.