The opening ceremony

The entrepreneurship team kicked off our project with an opening ceremony for our DAREnterprisers course. On the Friday before the opening ceremony, we had received the news that we had been anxiously waiting for, the National Economic Empowerment Council (NEEC) had agreed to give two of our winning teams from each track $3,000 and they were going to formally announce this by signing an MOU at our opening ceremony.

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With the Tanzanian press in attendance, Georgia was feeling the pressure to nail her speech. She spent most of the night before rehearsing in a restaurant as the rest of the team provided feedback. The bewildered waitress didn’t know what to do with herself as she snaked around a table that seemed far more interested in the words coming out of Georgia’s mouth than in actually ordering any food.

IMG_5728With the speech in place, we couldn’t wait any longer. Ravi donned the smart casual look and sat down to sign the MOU alongside Beng’l Mazana Issa (NEEC Executive Secretary) and after posing for the obligatory ‘frozen hand shake’ photo, it really did feel like CDI had just pulled off a massive world record transfer after months of negotiating. The MOU felt like a real milestone and it was recognition that our work was going in the right direction.

With successful DAREnterprisers alumni such as Ahad Katera and Japhet Sekenya, delivering talks about their journey, there was a real sense of excitement and opportunity amongst this year’s cohort.

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As we made our way to the front of the University of Dar es Salaam Business School, we were greeted by Tanzania’s new national hero and legend, none other than Ravi Solanki himself. He rounded off his interview with Tanzanian TV about CDI and DAREnterprisers with a proverb out of the very top drawer: “Haba na haba, hujaza kibaba” or “little by little, the pot gets filled”… as suave as ever from Mr Solanki and those words couldn’t be anymore closer to the truth. A lot of work had gone into laying the groundwork for the opening ceremony as well as the 8 weeks to come and slowly but surely we are getting closer to our goal of instilling the entrepreneurial spirit amongst Dar es Salaam’s young graduates.

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For me personally, this first week has been a real eye opener. At times, with all the planning and preparation being done beforehand in the UK, it was difficult to see any tangible results and therefore to keep yourself motivated. It was far too easy to become skeptical. However, the opening ceremony was symbolic and a real statement of intent from all parties involved. An amazing way to kick things off and we are all confident of going on to bigger and better things here on in!

Jeevan Jayaprakash, Entrepreneurship Project Volunteer

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