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How Tanzanian Innovations fly after early stage funding has ended?

FCG Int., Head of Sales, Mr. Teemu Seppälä conducted a study of 46 innovation fund grantees who received support from the MFA Finland funded programme TANZICT during 2012-2017. This follow-up mission aimed at evaluating the projects’ status since the closing of TANZICT.

The results are promising and some of the funded companies have been able to employ new staff and improve living standards in the most demanding environments. As the fund was pre-seed in nature - funding was allocated also for projects, which were not yet incorporated - one of the main results was that some of the projects were able to develop into legally established companies and become official members of the business community. Some of the companies have also shown growth through raising next level funding rounds. However, the most important impact has come through improved products and services that reach altogether hundreds of thousands of end-users, for example through downloadable mobile applications.

As is the case with start-up companies worldwide, Tanzania is not an exception: most of the ventures fail and even the small successes quite often end up doing something else after realizing their original idea was not feasible. This only highlights the usefulness and value of the learning experience.

Support per project varied from 1000 € to 15 000€ as the maximum, average grant was 4500€ and altogether value of the whole portfolio was app. 210 000€ (584 000 000 TZS). It was meant for prototype validation, business development and support for market entry. Mr. Seppälä acted as the CTA of the TANZICT programme 2015-2017.   

Teemu Magilatech Founder

Photo above: The Founder of Magilatech Company, Godfrey Magila with Teemu Seppälä at Magilatech’s R&D center in Dar es Salaam. Since TANZICT has finished, Magilatech has grown significantly employing now 14 persons. Mr. Magila has also been listed in the Forbes30.

3 Wheel Scooter

Photo above:  This locally produced 3-wheel scooter is designed for disabled persons. It has been built of local materials and parts in Zanzibar. So far, one scooter has been sold and four have been ordered.

Ms Yusta Katembo2

Ms. Yusta Katembo’s idea was to process milk and distribute it more efficiently in Zanzibar. The challenge was that many breeders did not have sufficient expertise in preparing milk-based products and through her activities, she has been able to share her knowledge and train others. So far, milk-processing capacity has grown 50% and she has employed a disabled woman to support her business goals.

Aija Niskanen (aija.niskanen a, 20.8.2018