Tanzania’s Ministry of Communication, Science and Technology has reaffirmed its commitment and determination to develop a new generation of tech related entrepreneurs by creating enabling environment and policy to spur individual income and the nation’s economy.

GISTThe Minister for Communication, Science and Technology Prof Makame Mbarawa who was speaking in Dar es Salaam yesterday at the Global Innovation through Science and Technology (GIST) startup boot camp, said the creation of small and medium-sized tech enterprises was critical in generating employment, diversifying economic activity and significantly contributes to the coffers of the treasury when they become part of the formal sector.

He said that his Ministry through the Commission for Science and Technology (Costech) has set up the Dar Technohama Business Incubator (DTBi) to provide incubation to the technological community and offers business development services to startups and SME tech companies.

In its one year and half of existence, it has produced 32 entities as incubates, which have more than 200 individual members that DTBi currently supports.

Welcoming the young East African technology entrepreneurs from the six nations to the US-Department of state-sponsored GIST startup boot camp, the US- Ambassador Alfonso Lenhardt said that supporting entrepreneurship among young African youth to promote economic development in the continent was one of the United States’ first commitments to partner with African youth in their aspirations to open up business and expand trade within their countries.

He said the boot camp marked the second global economic development by building capacity to translate innovative technology ideas into new products and companies.

He noted “The GIST initiative reflects President Obama’s commitment to deepen international relationships through partnerships that addresses global challenges”.

For her part, Ambassador of Finland Sinikka Antila said that Africa’s entrepreneurs face a host of challenges in launching and expanding their businesses which include poor infrastructures, communication technologies and access to financing saying there is a need to address such challenges.

“For many startup businesses in Africa, getting loans access to finance is the single biggest obstacle to growth. Too often local banks are unwilling or unable to lend to smaller firms” she noted.

In the same venue, the Costech director Dr Hassan Mshinda said his commission would continue funding research and job creators to encourage creativity among the youth and students in particular.

“A lot has been done in funding researches and creation of jobs, however, due to increased enrolment in schools, colleges and universities, there should be more emphasis on job creators because these are change agents,” he urged.

The global innovation through science and technology (GIST) initiative strengthens innovations and entrepreneurship ecosystems through programmmes and partnerships focused on networking, skills development and connections to financing.

Source: IPP media