Keeping in mind the information needs of SMEs of Tanzania, SIDO initiated its web based information services to, as described by a post on their site (sido.go.tz ) serve as a one-stop bouquet of aids that provides information on entrepreneurship, business, technology and credit among other services.
‘Information is becoming almost as vital as the air we breathe’ is the similitude used in the statement to depict the value of information in the modern age business arena. The statement details the vital aspects of efficient communication and access to information citing.
“With the increase in competition and melting away of international boundaries, the demand of business information is reaching new heights…”
Information is the remedy to the rudimentary SMEs in the nation and the region as a whole, proposes the statement from SIDO and in view of this, according to the post, the Government of India decided to setup for the Small Industries Information Centre (SIIC) along with the development of an SME web portal to be complimented with reliable transfer of technology and skill from India to their Tanzanian counterparts.
“The objective is to create and integrate an online information source for cost effective and quick dissemination of the data to interested groups under the Africa Fund of the Ministry of External Affairs...” explains the release.
Internet accessibility comes at a relatively high cost which leaves the traders lacking relevant information on products and technological developments. As a result of the limited information on market conditions there is a digital divide between firms and small businesses that have access to information and those who do not.
Despite having plenty of natural resources in the country, the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) of Tanzania are not able to meet the challenges of globalisation mainly due to lack of information and infrastructure to access and disseminate information, notes the parastatal’s web post and goes on to explain the idea behind the initiative.
“The concept of the project is to establish a dedicated Small Industries Information Centre at SIDO headquarters to enable the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises access information on technology, marketing and investment already available within and outside Tanzania with the assistance of Indian expertise.”
The idea is also to develop an information highway to exchange business information amongst Tanzanian MSMEs and with Indian SMEs, who have better global recognition for their competitive edge.
In a study (published 2010) conducted by Small and Medium Enterprise Competitiveness Facility (SCF) based on its experience and in consultation with stakeholders SCF determined that food processors lack sufficient marketing skills to effectively promote their products in an increasingly competitive environment.
SCF engaged MUU answers to study how effectively the lead executives of food SMEs in Tanzania understand and optimise usage of marketing communications and information dissemination tools and reported that in the case of marketing management need for ‘capacity development’ was observed.
SIDO was established in October 1973 as a parastatal organisation under the now Ministry of Trade, Industry and Marketing.
Its objective is to develop the small industry sector in Tanzania through policy formulation and direct support or hands-on involvement in the establishment of SMEs in both rural and urban areas.