Vodacom Tanzania
Featured image: Vodacom Tanzania managing director, Hisham Hendi.

Telecommunications company Vodacom Tanzania and Smart Lab have launched Vodacom Digital Accelerator, a programme that intends to help early-stage and growth-stage technology startups become profitable and revenue-generating businesses.

The new programme, which will run yearly, aims at identifying and supporting startup entrepreneurs in mobile, telecom, fintech, media, health, education, and e-commerce. The initiative will have three phases, which include application, selection and acceleration.

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Speaking at the launch event, the Vodacom Tanzania managing director, Hisham Hendi, said the partnership between Vodacom Tanzania and Smartcodes is a crucial move towards providing opportunities to startup businesses via technological paths, which will result in workable business models benefitting scores of youth across the country.

Hendi encouraged more youth to be innovative and take advantage of this opportunity as a path to economic empowerment through solving social developmental issues in their communities.

“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 added.

Hendi posing with stakeholders during the launch of the programme.

He further elaborated that as a company, which aims at taking Tanzanians into the digital world, encourages technology-driven ideas that bring sustainable change.

“Digital technology is not only changing the way we do business in Africa but also revolutionising the way we perceive and solve issues of development. It is therefore with great honour that we will once again create an opportunity for such ideas to be recognised, supported and transformed to maximise social impact”, Hendi said.

Disrupting the innovation eco-system

Hendi noted that his company has partnered with Smart Lab, a well-known innovation hub that aims to bring tangible results that will disrupt the innovation eco-system.

“So, this will be an opportunity for startups and innovators in the selected criteria to showcase their products and also gain from the platform including exclusive partnership deals with Vodacom, mentorship, technical assistance, marketing and exposure to Vodacom and Smart Lab’s large network of partners and finally customers to test and experience their solutions,” he said.

Smart Codes’ CEO Edwin Bruno said through this partnership, they hope to create a brand-building platform for the tech savvy youth.

“This programme 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.”

He detailed that “the 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.”