Vodacom, Smart Lab partnership to prop up business start-ups

11Sep 2019
The Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Vodacom, Smart Lab partnership to prop up business start-ups

BUSINESS start-ups in mobile, telecom, fintech, media, health, education and e-commerce will now be eligible to get expert support to grow and become profitable from Vodacom Tanzania Plc and Smart Lab.

Vodacom Managing Director, Hisham Hendi.

Announcing the annual competition in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Vodacom Managing Director, Hisham Hendi and Smartcodes CEO, Edwin Bruno said the ‘Vodacom digital accelerator,’ program is intended to help early-stage and growth-stage technology startups become profitable and revenue generating businesses.

Hendi said that the partnership between Vodacom and Smartcodes is an important move towards providing opportunities to startup businesses via technological mechanism which will result into workable business models to benefit communities, especially youth across the country.

“Vodacom always aims to create impactful sustainable change in the society where we operate in line with our strategic business focus and, the Vodacom accelerator aims to do just that,” he noted.

Hendi encouraged more youth to be innovative and take advantage of the opportunity as a path to economic empowerment through solving social development challenges facing communities. The Vodacom chief further elaborated that as a company which aims to take Tanzanians into the digital world, it encourages technology driven ideas that bring sustainable change.

“Digital technology is not only changing the way we do business in Africa but also revolutionizing the way we perceive and solve challenges of development,” he added while pointing out that Vodacom’s partnership with Smart Lab, will bring tangible results that will disrupt the innovation eco-system.

Smart Codes CEO, Bruno shared his excitement for the new program saying it will be a good opportunity to work on the ‘Vodacom accelerator’ and hopes to create a brand building platform for the tech savvy youth.

“This program is in line with our corporate strategy to drive messaging around youth support in the digital age and we are grateful for Vodacom Tanzania who saw the need to create the next round of success stories for African entrepreneurs building fast-growing technology companies coming from within the country,” Bruno noted.

He said the digital innovation community has mushroomed in Tanzania from just a handful of hubs in 2011 to more than 45 in 2019 but there has been a slower involvement from the corporate side whereas Vodacom in this partnership with Smart Lab will lead in bridging that gap.

“We look forward to a tech-evolved-future for Tanzania that is full of disruptive solutions which will positively impact the coming generations,” the Smart Lab CEO added.

Vodacom’s director of Corporate Affairs, Rosalynn Mworia said the company is investing more than U$150,000 into the accelerator program which will go towards educating and empowering Tanzania‘s youth.

During the program which also aims at leveraging corporate resources, networks, mentors, and partners, participants will present their progress to a panel of investors and associates at the end of a three month acceleration period from which winners will get further support from Vodacom, Smart Lab and partners for an additional six months.