“What is the value of innovation for startups entering to the new market
competition?” was among the interesting discussions we had last weekend during
the “Start ups Anatomy” session. The event featured different small company
owners and youth struggling to open new technology based startups.
The event had approximately 30 attendees who shared their opinions and views
about the startups ecosystem in Tanzania. Most of them were impressed with the
concepts discussed during the session, things like Incubation concepts, funding
sources, innovation, team work and understanding the startups ecosystem in
We had tough discussion on “if it’s possible to directly implement the techniques
that are used in Silicon Valley and implement them in Tanzania on an effort
to help local startups companies”. There was a lot of criticism on some of the
methods since the local startup ecosystem does not support. From the experience
shared during the session we realized a lot has to be done to create attractive
environment for local entrepreneurs to grow.
Some of the most influential challenges realized during the session was, the
culture of our family members and their perceptions towards entrepreneurs
should be changed. We realized most of the families in Tanzania don’t take
entrepreneurship seriously and they are not ready to support family members
who opt to be entrepreneurs.
Another challenge was most of the players inside the startups ecosystem don’t
know their role and few who knows their role; they don’t make enough effort to
reach the right entrepreneurs. Stakeholders like venture capitalist, angel investors
and mentors are very difficult to be reached in our local communities and most of
them work with specific group of people in our societies.
There was an issue of financial sectors, if they are doing enough to support the
Tanzanians startup ecosystem. Most of the attendees of the session believed the
financial sectors in Tanzania should be more supportive and regulate the policies
to create room for local startups to get funds to finance their startups through
loans with low interest.
About the incubation programmes, the session attendees argued about the entrance criteria to the local incubators and the exit strategies. Most of them thought it will be more useful if all the startups companies are given more opportunities to receive the services offered by local business incubators. The main challenge was the limited resources; the few incubators available couldn’t serve all the local startups available or even meet half the requirement.
The discussion about the ecosystem brought up some stuffs on the role of the government on facilitating different startups development initiatives. What we realize from the session, is that the government is trying its level best to reach the startups
and release funds to support entrepreneurship but the biggest challenge has been
management of those funds and making sure they reach the right group at the
bottom of the chain.
The session took three hours, one hour of startups concepts presentation and
two hours of impressive discussion about the startups ecosystem in Tanzania and
our roles as stakeholders through sharing experience with local small startups
The attendees were so impressed with the session and asked to have the same kind of sessions in the future that will involve different stakeholders from the ecosystem so that the discussion will bring more sense by having the right people in the room and through the discussion they could understand what is needed to be done by the local decision makers to facilitate the startups ecosystem in Tanzania.
Lastly, we realize there is a lot to be done from everyone in the ecosystem. The startups owners themselves, the government, regulators such as brela, education
system (our universities) and our culture in general needs to be supportive, if we
are to be successful on our effort to help building favorable startups ecosystem.