The inaugural edition of “Wazo Challenge Tanzania,” launched in February 2021, was the first step in Startup Réseau’s East Africa expansion.
The startup competition is for Tanzanian entrepreneurs aged 18 to 30 who have an idea for using technology to solve a local business or customer problem.
“With a population of nearly 60 million people, 43 million cell phone subscriptions, and 17 million internet users, technology will assist in taking the next step forward and solving social and business issues.
Our larger thesis is that Africa has African problems that must be solved by African talent using technology, which is exactly what our programs are designed to facilitate. We began in Tanzania, and our strategy is to grow regionally first, then pan-African,” says Ajay Ramasubramaniam, Founder & CEO of Startup Réseau.
Startup Réseau sponsored a Venture Bootcamp as part of the program, in which 10 high-potential entrepreneurs were chosen for a 4-week venture mentorship and leadership growth bootcamp led by established founders, market leaders, domain experts, and investors from Startup Réseau’s global network.
In addition to the Venture Bootcamp, there was a “Office Hours” track where 15 more startups from the applicant pool were mentored.
“Wazo Challenge Tanzania was focused on 12 startups selected from an application pool of 150 startups that focused on 5 themes,” said Abdi Mohamed, Managing Director, Absa Bank Tanzania, during the Demo day event. Absa, as a co-sponsor, saw the need to support youth with creative ideas that have the potential to affect communities and bring people’s potential to life, which we call “Africanacity” at Absa.
Mr. Mohamed went on to say that Absa Bank plays a significant role in becoming a force for good in the society, ensuring that youth are well served because they have a bright future ahead of them and their daring spirit in turning a business concept into reality is a ‘dream come true’ for entrepreneurs.
Top-three prizes of USD 5,000 (Kikoba App – FinTech), USD 3,000 (Mipango – FinTech), and USD 2,000 (MedPack – HealthTech) were presented, based on the stage of the startups, the founders’ vision, uniqueness, market prospects, and clarity of business model. The “best use of funds to reach a milestone” was also taken into account.
“It is a great start for us in Africa, to contribute towards building the early-stage startup ecosystem by leveraging our learnings from India,” says Jagruti Bista, Lead – Africa Programs, Startup Réseau. Tanzania’s startup ecosystem is still in its infancy, and starting here has proven to be a wise decision so far. It allows us to do more and make a difference. Working with our first generation, we discovered that the entrepreneurs were enthusiastic about developing their ideas and solving local problems. The majority of them have found a product-market match, and many of them are close to what we’ve seen in India over the last few years. First-time entrepreneurs need assistance from program operators such as ourselves, who can provide them with tools and assist them in building for the future today. During this year, we hope to partner with at least 30-40 local startups.”
Startup Réseau also revealed two new programs for the area at the Wazo Challenge Tanzania 2021 Demo Day, East Africa FinTech Bootcamp and Founder Development Bootcamp Tanzania, in partnership with Y-Center, which runs entrepreneurship projects in Kenya and other parts of Africa.
Startup Réseau runs accelerator programs with a mission to deliver the ultimate global network of Enterprises, Capital, Markets, and Services to Startups, based on the founding pillar of #StartupsFirst. Startup Réseau wants to build regional hubs across Africa, enabling and accelerating tech entrepreneurs through organized accelerator programs, and expanding its global network.
Here are are the winners:
$5,000 Cash Grant Winner
Kikoba App (Francis Mwakatumbula, Co-Founder & CEO)
Kikoba is a digital platform that enables savings groups to manage and raise funds, as well as loan money in a simple and efficient manner.
$3,000 Cash Grant Winner
Mipango (Agnes Mollel, Co-Founder & CEO)
Mipango is a Personal Finance Management (PFM) software that employs artificial intelligence to help users track their spending.
$2,000 Cash Grant Winner
Medpack (Henry Mathayo, Co-Founder & CEO)
MedPack is a direct-to-consumer pharmacy that sorts your medications by dose and delivers them to your doorstep.
For more information visit the website.
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