African woman standing on scene
Doreen Kessy pitching in a startup event SLUSH as chosen one of the best impact start-ups. Ubongo Kids is an edutainment company already reaching more than 5 million users.

Tanzania ICT Project (TANZICT)

Funds for Information Society development

Innovation Fund supports emerging entrepreneurs and stimulate the development of innovative technology products and services in Tanzania.

The overall aim of the project is to strengthen Tanzania's development towards a knowledge-based information society with enhanced capacities to contribute to the achievement of socio-economic development goals of the Tanzanian government.

The Tanzania Information Communication Technology Project (TANZICT) introduced Innovation Fund in collaboration with Commission of Science and Technology (COSTECH) to support emerging entrepreneurs and stimulate the development of innovative technology products and services.

To encourage small entrepreneurs to access the Innovation Fund, the application process was kept as simple as possible.  A novelty introduced in the grant application and management required that applicants linked up with a mentor organisation such as a business incubator, technology hub or university which provided them technical guidance to implement their project as planned.

Both the entrepreneur and mentor signed the contract and shared joint responsibility and accountability for ensuring that grant money was used accordingly and results were reported.   

Between 2011-2016, TANZICT organised six competitive Innovation Fund rounds, resulting in more than 500 applications of which 45 start-ups successfully received funding.

Examples of initiatives that received funding:

  • Bongo Live: Developed an advanced SMS gateway capable of aggregating multiple mobile operators and customers. This gateway has enabled companies to expand their businesses significantly by allowing them to handle larger volumes of SMS traffic as well as connect directly with mobile networks.
  • Multi Crop Thresher: A threshing machine designed for common staple crops (maize, rice, sorghum and barley). Crop handling is 75 times faster than existing methods. This technology will benefit 15 million smallholder Tanzanian farmers.
  • The Arlzy Microsystem: An electronic Documentation System that is being used by the Ministry of Works, Transport and Communication with other Ministries indicating interest to adopt the system.
  • Prinpo: Builds 3D printers from e-waste. These 3D printers produce e.g. affordable 3D educational tools for schools. By producing visual teaching tools for the natural sciences Prinpo enhances learning in Tanzanian schools.
  • Our Cries: 15-year old Modesta Joseph created Our Cries website (http://ourcries.com) where students can report harassment incidents they experience in school buses.