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Avoid duplicates, be innovative, Fin entrepreneur urges Tanzanians

15th January 2013
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Aape Pohjavirta

Don't duplicate things or products that other innovators and incubatees have done or that already exist in the country, Tanzanians have been urged.

This will help Tanzania meet the Millennium Development Goals in terms of creation of new enterprises and jobs and compete with other countries.
Aape Pohjavirta, an entrepreneur and founder leader of the Human Learning Project/Inclusion from Finland, said this recently. 
 
Pohjavirta, who was recently in the country for three days to attend a meeting on the role of entrepreneurship, innovation and incubation for development, said copying or duplication is not innovation.   
 
“As entrepreneur with creative innovations, it is upon you to create something new that we do not know as well as make sure that people understand your innovation,” he said.
“On the other hand, collaborating together and sharing experience with other people or your colleagues is important because without doing so, you may not be able to achieve what you want,” he said.
“Also when you come up with a new innovation, you must also come up with solutions to help users use it more effectively,” he said.
 
Elaborating on consulting services, he said, “if you’re not a part of solution, there is good money to be made in prolonging the problems.”
 
“As an innovator, incubatees or entrepreneurs with creative ideas to make different products or manufacture different machines, never hire a person who is there for sales only,” he noted.
 
He called on Tanzanian innovators, incubatees and entrepreneurs not to give up their plans, noting that it is okay to quit, but never to give up. “Trust and love what you intend to do,” he said.
 
Highlighting on what has been done in Finland, he said, in his country they have been very active in society in pushing politicians to understand issues relating to innovations and the parliament has enacted a law so that innovation is made to be systematic and more inclusive in development.
 
Meanwhile George Mulanula, the DTBI’s Chief Executive Officer added that the Finnish government, Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) and Dar Teknohama Business Incubator (DTBI), have established an innovation fund to support entrepreneurs with creative ideas so that they can use them to implement their concepts.
 
Presently the Innovation Fund has 100,000 US dollars, he said, noting that they have decided to support all entrepreneurs with innovative ideas because limited access to finance is seriously undermining the survival and growth of SMEs.
 
On the other hand, Sinikka Antila, Ambassador of Finland added that Finland has been very active in supporting private sector under its development cooperation and this has also covered efforts to support the enabling environment for innovation.
 
“Innovation has in fact been one of the most interesting aspects in Finnish development policy that has triggered good discussion on how “we develop it more systematically in our development co-operation.”
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN