The winners who beat 10 contestants of the digital entrepreneurship competition organized by University of Dar es Salaam Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre (UDIEC) and Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) were part of shortlisted candidates from 40 participants of an inaugural six weeks online training.
“The 40 young graduates with social innovation ideas came from different universities across the country and were trained on how to start a business that can support people in the community with practical solutions,” said DOT Country Director, Eliguard Dawson said.
Dawson told a one day social innovators conference last week in Dar es Salaam that social innovation ideas are a new concept aiming to encourage young graduates find solutions to address social needs.
“Innovators should respond to social challenges something which has been lacking in the market and which the public needs,” he noted. Dawson further pointed out that the 40 youths were also equipped with skills to use information communication technology in running of their businesses.
The first went to Kuchengo Suleiman from Suku Enterprise who apart from the cash prize which he will use as seed capital to boost his business, will also travel to Nairobi, Kenya to connect with other DOT social innovators from 13 countries across the world.
Kuchengo won for his innovative nutritional health solution to address ailments such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
The second prize went to Faraji Bofu and Juma Matata from Mabo Recyclers Social Enterprise who received a U$ 2,000 cash award after coming up with their innovative waste paper recycling technology by creating low cost exercise books and less carbon paper charcoal.
The third prize winner was Betty Sonda from Lily Pads Social Enterprise who pocketed U$ 1,000 cash award thanks to her innovative ideas to produce sanitary pads that are eco-friendly and affordable to low income girls by using Lake Victoria invasive water hyacinth.
All of the winning ideas are also in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“As developing country, we have bright and innovative youths who have graduated from different universities across the country who DOT Tanzania is working with to come up with the best social innovation ideas like these winning entries,” Dawson stressed.
Speaking at the conference, National Economic Empowerment Council Executive Secretary, Beng’i Issa paid tribute to DOT and UDIEC for organizing the competition and organizing the training of young graduates which helps devise solutions to social problems.
“This program will build competence among youths and enable them to create employment for themselves and their peers through innovation,” Issa said.
She said currently, unemployment is a major problem in the country because on average one million youths enter the labour market from schools, colleges and universities annually.
“Out of the one million youth who enter the labour market, only 30 percent get employment which as government thinks is a big problem hence the need to devise various mechanisms to address the problem,” the NEEC chief noted.