So what exactly is DAREnterprisers?

After a year of preparation, months of dedicated work and weeks on the ground, the DAREnterprisers course is already in full swing as part of their second year working in Dar. But, what is DAREnterprisers and where did the course come from?

DAREnterprisers was formed as one of CDI’s 4 projects, as the organisation was interested in getting involved in addressing the growing youth unemployment in East Africa, as well as taking advantage of the economic atmosphere for change and growth that’s been building in the region. Following a series of meetings, discussions and workshops, the idea for DAREnterprisers was born and was first implemented on the ground in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, in the summer of 2014.

The course was a great success that culminated in a conference where the cohorts presented their business plans to local stakeholders, and several of the alumni have since created and pursued their own businesses.

The aim for 2015 was to improve on the design of creating confident, skilful entrepreneurs, by also having the project focus on socially conscious issues, as we believe that successful business people influence their communities significantly and so should be the forefront of socially conscious action. This was reflected in our decision to host three separate tracks for the course, each handling one major issue faced by East African communities: Off-grid energy, Manufacturing & urban living and WASH (Waste, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene).

After a lengthy application process, we acquired a host of students that were keen to learn and develop and had the drive and passion needed to inspire one another and overcome the inevitable challenges along the journey towards success.

The course itself was designed as an 8 week program that started off covering the qualities of what makes a successful entrepreneur and how to develop a social enterprise. The course then covered methods of design, including an introduction to human centred design, which the students were encouraged to apply within their tracks to uncover potential problems that may generate a solution. We then had a week that was focused on ideation, where the students took their host of potential solutions and refined them into viable business ideas. The third and fourth weeks were then focused on forming tangible solutions and designing prototypes. This process involved workshops and seminars that covered the significance and methods of product and prototype development.

In the coming weeks, we will cover business models and proposals, marketing & accounting and communication & presentation skills. This will happen alongside workshops where the students have an opportunity to work in their teams, along with collaborators and mentors, to design, develop, test and finalize their businesses as far as possible. There will also be more and more conference focus as work progresses in order to prepare the students for their professionally delivered pitch to our large board of stakeholders and audience, in the hope of developing lasting industry relationships, receiving incubation and winning the $9,000 of available prize money.

However, more than simply focusing on developing successful enterprises for our conference, DAREnterprisers is focused on developing successful entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is about having the skills, tool set and confidence to grasp at business opportunities as they arise, and we aim to give each of our cohorts these qualities so they can be key players in the transformation of Dar.

Michael Stec, Entrepreneurship Team volunteer

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