Reflections on the Into Business Seminar Series

By Izzy Monnickendam

As the last week of 2018’s Entrepreneurship project approaches, we would like to reflect on our Into Business Seminar Series pilot project, thinking about what has gone well, what we have learnt and how we can move forward next year. But first, what actually is this year’s entrepreneurship project? The IntoBusiness programme is a 5-week seminar series on practical business skills, aimed at encouraging young Tanzanians to start their own sustainable businesses. Our project endeavours to tackle crippling youth unemployment amongst recent graduates. One shocking statistic that highlights the need for such a project is that approximately 800,000 young Tanzanian professionals compete for just 416,000 formal jobs each year.

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Working with our counterparts this year has been an invaluable experience.

So what have we done so far? We have run eight seminars and are excited to have our final four this week. The summer started with a rush to decide and flesh out the seminar series’ content. Then it was the communication team’s task to confirm speakers for all twelve or so seminars. We have had to make some changes along the way, such as removing seminars that had little interest or no available speaker. On the whole, our speakers have been engaging, enthusiastic and enlightening. One seminar that I particularly enjoyed was with Khalila Kellz Mbowe, who immediately got to know all the participants and sparked a varied discussion on different aspects of gender issues in business.

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Khalila posing with some of our team and participants.

A very different but equally stimulating seminar was on business economics and given by two of our own team members, Vincent and Luca. Rewarding participants with chocolates when they answered questions helped create a fun atmosphere in the room.

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Vincent and Luca presenting their seminar on business economics.

Reflecting on what we have done so far, it becomes clear that teamwork has been crucial to the success of the seminar series. With so many people working on the same project, it has been essential to collaborate and communicate as much as possible. Sometimes things don’t work out smoothly and our team has certainly gone through ups and downs. However, any difficulties have only made us stronger and taught us more, individually, about working in a challenging environment. That’s why we have come up with the entrepreneurship team’s top ten tips for teamwork!

  1. Always be polite and friendly
  2. Discuss all important issues
  3. Be honest, never hide information
  4. Listen to whoever’s talking at any moment – keep phones and laptops away
  5. Stay positive even when things go wrong
  6. Confront any issues head on and then move onwards and upwards
  7. Question decisions that you don’t agree with, but in a constructive way
  8. Be ready to adapt and adjust to challenges coming your way
  9. Set clear goals for everybody every day
  10. Believe in what you’re working for
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The entrepreneurship team at the beginning of the summer.

Thinking ahead to next year there are several ideas to be considered for the future entrepreneurship project and team. The impact and success of the seminar series will be assessed and, as it is a pilot project, there will be a decision about whether it will continue. If so, attendance for next year will be a key focus, as well as reviewing speakers to make sure the seminars are as interactive and informative as possible. Reflecting on the digital resource bank we have been working on to complement the seminars, it will be exciting to track its success and think about how it can be expanded, in terms of both content and access. Furthermore, proposals about a student consultancy pilot project will be contemplated. This idea would involve teams of professionally trained students pairing up with local business to maximise their entrepreneurial success. This is in very early stages of planning, however, and a lot more research needs to be done. There is a lot to be excited about!

Finally, one thing we have been reflecting on since the very beginning of the seminar series is how to define its success. Is it about how many people come to the seminars? Or about how many people use the information we give them to start their own business? Or maybe it’s about what kind of people attend, whether graduates, women or business owners? Perhaps it is all these things and more. Hopefully, we will find out in our end-of-project M&E report!

 

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A Day in the Life of an Entrepreneurship Publicity Volunteer

My name is Trina, and I’m the Publicity Officer on the Entrepreneurship team along with my counterpart John from KITE. I decided to volunteer with CDI after recommendations from a few people I knew who did it and had an amazing time. I had previously done some volunteering abroad, but it seemed unsustainable as it mainly involved fundraising in the UK and then using this money to buy resources to help developing countries. CDI’s approach of collaborating with local communities and building local networks, instead of traditional charity approaches, really appealed to me as it uses empowerment to provide a more sustainable way to help solve development issues in Tanzania. I’m really excited to be working in the Entrepreneurship team, since youth unemployment is a huge issue here and the team aims to reduce this by encouraging young people to set up their own businesses. Despite being a Natsci and not an Economics student (like most of the Entre team), I’m definitely managing to work well in the team and actively get involved in the project – I’d recommend anyone who’s interested in Entrepreneurship to apply whatever subject you’re studying!

 

8:00 am

Wake up and find something smart to wear. Most days we can wear whatever, but today is a seminar day (so no flip flops! L ) The Entrepreneurship team this year are piloting a new project involving a series of free standalone “Into Business” seminars that aim to teach participants entrepreneurial skills such as business ideation and how to raise capital. Instead of teaching these ourselves, we are contacting speakers and organisations with expertise in each area to run the seminars. Today’s seminar is called “How I Achieved My Dream” and involves a panel of three Tanzanian entrepreneurs talking about their success stories.

 

8:30 am

Breakfast in the canteen! This is usually a chapati with either a boiled egg, a sausage or on days when I’m craving sugar (like today) Nutella and banana.

 

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9:00 am

Arrive at the venue which the seminars are being held at, which conveniently is in Ardhi University itself. The morning involves setting up for the seminar – moving tables into/out of the room, bringing in the Into Business banner, and sorting out refreshments for the event.

 

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9:30 am

The first attendees start arriving! 5 members of the Entre team stand at various points across the University campus to direct attendees to the venue, whilst some sit at the front desk to register participants as they arrive and some ensure the speakers are all on time and meet them when they arrive. Others welcome participants into the classroom and keep them entertained with games until the seminar is ready to start, and my role as Publicity officer involves the fun job of taking photos and videos throughout the seminar! As people arrive, it’s nice to notice a significant number of returning faces from previous seminars, which reinforces the fact that some people are finding the seminars useful.

 

10:30 am

With all the speakers and most of the attendees present, the seminar starts. The three speakers today are Japhet Sekenya, Lillian Madeje and Stumai Simba, who are all successful Tanzanian entrepreneurs:

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Aina, one of the KITE volunteers, hosts the panel discussion, and the speakers take turns to chat about how they set up their businesses, give entrepreneurial advice and answer questions from the audience. Unlike previous seminars, the one today is a mixture of Swahili and English, and the participants seem in general more engaged.

 

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12:00 pm

After the speakers finish talking, Luca and Patience (our M&E Officers) come in and encourage everyone to fill in a survey about the seminar before they leave. They have the option to do this on their phones with hotspots we provide, or using laptops set up at the back of the room. For the first time so far we got a 100% of participants filling in the survey!

 

12.30 pm

There’s a brief networking period where participants, speakers and the CDI and KITE teams can all chat outside the venue, and the banner is always the centre of many photos that are taken! I’ve been desperate to get a full group photo of the CDI and KITE Entre team since the first seminar, but as yet we’ve not all been in the same place at once so today I just caved and we had a group photo with everyone except Vince (we can photoshop him in later).

 

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1.00pm

After everyone has left the seminar and the team has tidied up the venue, it’s finally time for lunch! We usually eat lunch in the lower canteen and a typical meal is wali (rice) with either maharage (beans), spinach, kukku (chicken) or occasionally njugu (chickpeas). Today was a spinach and beans day (it tastes much better than it looks!)

During lunch we watched the trailed for Crazy Rich Asians and decided to go see it at the local cinema on Thursday, and also Max discovered his forehead was magnetic…

 

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14.00 pm

After lunch Luca, the CDI M&E Officer, ran the debrief meeting we have after each seminar to discuss what went well and what needs improving next time. We utilise the jazz hands system in these meetings, where people have to do jazz hands whenever they agree to a point being made:

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The main points today are that the general running of events is getting smoother, but there needs to be strategies to increase attendance. One idea that has been brought up before and was raised again is the idea of giving certificates to participants who attend at least 5 seminars as an incentive for attendance. We’re thinking of having an event at the last seminar with food and networking at which we can also give out these certificates which would also be a nice way to wrap up the project!

15:00 pm

For the rest of the afternoon, my job as Publicity involves publicising the next seminar, which is The Economics of Growing Your Business. I first make a poster for the event on Canva, and then send that out with more detailed information about the event on Whatsapp (where we have an Into Business group with >200 participants!), Instagram (@in2business – shameless plug) and Facebook. I also start designing advertising materials to promote the fact that after attending 5 seminars participants will receive a certificate, and work on Instagram and Facebook posts giving more detail about the speakers for the next seminar.

(Spot the codeword we do for intellectual breaks from work)

 

16:00 pm

Norah, the KITE Deputy Project Director, leads a meeting with the whole team on advertising strategy, and new ideas were put forward including doing Instagram lives during the seminars and taking pictures of participants with the banner at the end of each seminar and encouraging them to post it on their social media with the #IntoBusinessSeminars hashtag.

 

18:30 pm

After finishing work and reading some of my book outside to wind down, it’s time for dinner yay! We usually go down the road to pick up some street food to eat back at the canteen. There’s loads of choice, including chapatis, samosas (with a full boiled egg inside them) and other fried foods, but today we went for chapati with octopus!

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20.45 pm

Karaoke time! A group of us went for a drink at a bar down the road, and discovered it was their karaoke night! Despite some questionable song choices (Itchin – Lil Wayne) it was good fun and Sophie from the Education team sang an amazing rendition of Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours.

 

22.30 pm

On returning from the bar we watched the first half of Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason in the canteen before bed. Today has been a productive but exhausting day – days with seminars are generally more hectic than others, but seeing participants enjoying themselves and saying “See you next time” when they leave is really rewarding. Most days involve a lot of designing posters and using social media which is fun, but the Entre team work closely together and there’s always a variety of other things to do if you feel bored, which keeps things interesting. As well as the seminar series, in our free time we’re researching potential new initiatives that can be piloted in future years, and ways to improve the current seminars in terms of increasing their impact. I’d really recommend applying to the Entrepreneurship team if you want an interesting and rewarding summer, and I’m excited to see how the rest of the seminars this year progress!

 

Meet the Entrepreneurship Team!

Hi, we are the Entrepreneurship Team of 2018!

As we are six weeks into the project now and already knee deep in work, we think an introduction to our team is long overdue.

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Olivia – Project Director 

Current Studies: MPhil Development Studies Graduate

What you need to know: Her nickname is Lucy

Highlight of the project so far: Seeing the team grow together

 

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Neema – Project Director

Current Studies: Law Graduate

What you need to know: She doesn’t like cheese (who knew people like that existed?!)

Highlight of the project so far: Seeing everyone work together and overcome obstacles

 

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Issy – Research Team

Current Studies: First Year Land Economy

What you need to know: She is the cat woman of Dar es Salaam (she is constantly surrounded by the entire population of Ardhi’s many cats)

Highlight of the project so far: Sunny team meetings at the beach

 

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Yumo – Research Team 

Current Studies: Urban Planning Graduate

What you need to know: Do not play the card game ‘President’ with her, she will quickly turn into a controlling dictator

Highlight of the project so far: Giving out fliers in the local universities

 

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Seni – Research Team 

Current Studies: Finance Graduate

What you need to know: He likes to find new things

Highlight of the project so far: Meeting so many new people

 

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Norah – Deputy Project Director

Current Studies: Law Graduate

What you need to know: She sleeps with her legs in the air

Highlight of the project so far: Team meetings at Grano (that are usually accompanied by yummy cake!)

 

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Zac – Deputy Project Director

Current Studies: Management Graduate

What you need to know: He’s one of Scotland’s top grime artists (in his head) and has an irrational fear of cats jumping out of bins

Highlight of the project so far: Being a guest DJ at the local club

 

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Vincent – Communications  

Current Studies: Economics and Management Graduate

What you need to know: He has drawn CDI’s Deputy Director, Billy, over 50 times

Highlight of the project so far: Visiting a local market and being challenged to a rap battle by a local

 

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Rashid – Communications 

Current Studies: Economics

What you need to know: He’s fab at volleyball

Highlight of the project so far: Having face to face meetings with some of the most influential business men and women in Dar

 

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Josi – Communication

Current Studies: Geomatics Graduate

What you need to know: Has the most amazing business dress (a future editor of vogue?)

Highlight of the project so far: Getting to meet and form relationships with some of the biggest business tycoons in Tanzania

 

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Trina – Publicity 

Current Studies: Chemistry Graduate

What you need to know: Her room at university had over 100 different toy penguins

Highlight of the project so far: Winning the CDI scavenger hunt by bringing back a live chicken and a CD copy of Zac’s favourite Tanzanian song

 

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John – Publicity  

Current Studies: Finance

What you need to know: He loves to rap!

Highlight of the project so far: Seeing the seminars improve each time

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Aina – Events Coordinator 

Current Studies:  Geoinformatics Graduate

What you need to know: She loves to dance!

Highlight of project so far: When we held a photo shoot for our publicity shots

 

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Luca – M&E Officer  

Current Studies: Economics

What you need to know: He is currently attempting to bring back the backwards baseball cap

Highlight of project so far: Starting the IntoBusiness boy band

 

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Patience – M&E Officer 

Current Studies: Economics

What you need to know: He can stay awake all night listening to music and won’t be tired in the morning

Highlight of project so far: Meeting new people from all over the world

 

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Megan – Events Coordinator   

Current Studies: Economics

What you need to know: She carries a jar of Nutella on her at all times

Highlight of project so far: Being invited to Rashid’s house to celebrate Eid with the rest of the team!

 

So that’s us!
These six weeks really have flown by. As Entrepreneurship is a pilot project this year we have had many learning curves to deal with. This, alongside trying to get our heads around the ins and outs of Tanzanian culture has made our days a little hectic and challenging at times. But with the guidance of our brilliant counterparts and being able to work outside in the Tanzanian sun, we have taken it all in our stride.

The evenings are filled with visits to the local karaoke bar, hunting down new street food finds (yellow balls are by far the best), crowding around one laptop to watch the latest instalment of Love Island and stuffing our faces with Chowpatty (the best Indian you will ever find). So, it’s easy to see how three weeks can quickly slip by without any of us realising.

Although we have already learned and accomplished so much in these weeks, there is still a lot we wish to achieve as a team:

  • First up is for us CDI volunteers to improve our somewhat abysmal Kiswahili. Most of us have quickly learned the names of our favourite foods and no longer make the mistake of ordering goat instead of baked beans. However, knowing little Kiswahili other than our lunch order is getting slightly embarrassing, so some vocab practise is well in need.
  • Next, we want to focus on widening the impact of project in Dar. Whilst we have quickly put together a professional seminar series, we want to work on who we are helping and ways we can reach those that previous projects have been unable to. Here we have set ourselves a considerable challenge, however we are confident that with inputs from both CDI and Kite we will find a solution.
  • Finally, to make the most of the pilot project, we also hope to explore new project streams that are yet to be investigated by previous entrepreneurship teams.

Hopefully, when we next check in we will have made progress on these goals, but for now…

Kwaheri!

 

Women in Business: Tackling the Statistics

The Women’s Empowerment Workshop was run by CDI’s Entrepreneurship Project as a part of the DAREnterprisers Course. Lizzy O’Brien (centre) was one of the Workshop organisers, and here she explains the importance of promoting gender equality among the next generation of entrepreneurs in Tanzania.

The OECD Development Centre’s Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) is a cross-country measure of discrimination against women in social institutions across 160 countries. In their profile of Tanzania, they categorise the country under the SIGI category of ‘High’, stating that ‘the 1977 Constitution of Tanzania prohibits gender-based discrimination but the country’s legislation has yet to be adjusted to support this principle’.[1] This assessment is backed-up by the data collected by several other international organisations, which has found that:

  • Women in Tanzania earn only 68% of what men earn whilst performing similar work.[2]
  • Approximately a quarter of Tanzanians believe that boys’ education is more important than girls’.[3]
  • Only 22% of graduates are female.[4]

With statistics such as these standing before young women, CDI’s Entrepreneurship Project has been focusing upon how we can encourage the empowerment of female entrepreneurs who are striving for social change.

The Women’s Empowerment Workshop was a CDI wide event, run by DAREnterprisers, to which all UK and Tanzanian CDI volunteers were invited. We invited three female guest speakers: Blandini Semu, an ITV presenter and an advocate for women’s and disabled rights; Amina Sanga, a successful young entrepreneur; and Tatu Said, a motivational speaker. After each of these women had spoken about their experiences as a woman in the workplace, the audience engaged the panel in a question and answer session, before continuing the afternoon in structured group discussions.

One of the areas we particularly addressed was the fact that the female demographic within the DAREntreprisers course is so low: only 24%. This is a topic our Project team has frequently discussed, but it was especially constructive to hear the thoughts of the participants themselves. One specific reason they articulated was that, in Tanzania, there is still the prevailing expectation that a woman’s role is primarily within her household. When a student’s university term ends, it is expected that she will return home and assist with the day to day upkeep of her family household. Consequently, girls are not often supported by their families to apply for opportunities such as the DAREnterprisers course, and so either reject the place or drop out.

Another reason for the low rate of female applications which we considered was that the three tracks of the course (Manufacturing & Urban Living, WaSH (Water, Sanitation & Hygiene) and Off-Grid Energy) may be perceived as ‘masculine’. All of these tracks imply an engineering, STEM focus which, traditionally, has been dominated by men.

To further this idea, I asked Regina Kwisakwani Mwakibinga about her experience. Regina is an engineering student at UDSM, and she said that, although she is thoroughly used to a classroom dominated by boys, she feels that this isn’t the way it should be and that an active effort should be made to encourage an equal gender balance. She appreciates the support that CDI has given in the classroom and is inspired by the gender balance of the volunteers on the Entrepreneurship Project. She suggested that the recruitment process could be improved by clearly communicating that female involvement is encouraged and advertising the opportunity on women dominated platforms such as forums.

An active and effective effort has been made this year on the DAREnterprisers course to retain and develop the skill of all our female participants. An all-women’s Whatsapp group has been set up as a forum in which to discuss thought-provoking articles or ideas. The addition of a women’s welfare officer on the Tanzanian and UK team of volunteers has also been invaluable in sorting out any conflicts and providing support, and we have ensured that feedback sessions have been run specifically for the female participants.

There is always more that organisations can do to encourage female empowerment in the workplace, but the ideas generated through our discussion during and after the Workshop are steps which CDI will continue to explore and implement. The SIGI quite rightly points out that ‘as underlying drivers of gender inequalities, discriminatory social institutions perpetuate gender gaps in development areas, such as education, employment and health, and hinder progress towards rights-based social transformation that benefits both women and men.’[5] It is CDI’s vision to ensure that both our projects and our organisation as a whole are spaces in which such transformation and positive development can occur.

 

[1] http://www.genderindex.org/country/tanzania/
[2] World Economic Forum, 2013, p. 354
[3] UNICEF, 2010, p. 28
[4] UNESCO Institute of Statistics, 2015
[5] http://www.genderindex.org/

Transforming Vision into Progress: The Entrepreneurial Acumen of Tanzanian Students

For the last three years, CDI’s Entrepreneurship Project have run DAREnterprisers, an eight-week entrepreneurship course at the University of Dar es Salaam designed to empower and equip Tanzanian students to start their own businesses. Participants of the programme are encouraged to address problems within their own communities, as well as developing the transferable skills and confidence which can set them up for future career opportunities. Rhiannon Jones (centre) is one of the three course organisers, and here explains the vision of the course, and the current plans which are underway for its future development. 
This year saw a record number of applicants for the DAREnterprisers course. With over 200 applications for just 40 places, the enthusiasm among university students to participate in the programme and develop their own business models is only growing.

Dar es Salaam is the 9th fastest growing city in the world; yet, despite its potential for social, economic and technological development, youth unemployment remains a large problem in the country. According to recent figures, 900,000 professionals compete for just 60,000 jobs in the formal sector.[1] Considering this shortage, the importance of individual initiative among young graduates is becoming indispensable.
Through conversations with our participants at the start of the course, this entrepreneurial mindset and eagerness to tackle unaddressed social problems became ever clearer. However, as my fellow volunteer, Issy Houston, referred to in in her blog, we have identified an emerging disparity between the aims of Tanzanian students and the extent to which they feel able to pursue such careers.[2] Many of our participants stated their frustration with the way that their university education leaves them under-equipped to pursue an independent career pathway: they feel they lack skills in business training and are uncertain of how to get their business ideas off the ground.
It is this mismatch between the teaching given in institutions of learning and the needs of the labour market which the DAREnterprisers course intends to address. Set up in 2014, the interactive programme is unique in being the first course run by a team of students from both Cambridge and Tanzanian universities which is focused upon ‘human-centred design’. The goal is not only to motivate our shortlisted candidates to produce tangible business ideas, but also to challenge them to make positive social impact by focusing their businesses on issues within their local communities.
As we enter the third week of the course, participants have started narrowing down their business ideas and assessing their viability and potential impact. Alongside learning some key business theory, participants have already had the chance to conduct research in their local communities, attend workshops with inspiring entrepreneurs, and go on site visits to successful businesses and factories.

We are particularly encouraged to hear that many participants are enjoying the interactive nature of our course: it is a key goal of the project to implement peer-to-peer learning, as opposed to the heavily lectured-based style of their university education. Week two was packed full of sessions focused on business ideation and divergent thinking, encouraging both the CDI team and the participants to think creatively and come up with as many innovative business solutions as possible. This is the unique strength of our course: students facilitating student initiatives, youth supporting youth. One of the key points of action identified at The Promise of Youth in Africa Conference 2016 was to ‘acknowledge and support youth as individuals who can powerfully support one another’, and this is a point CDI’s Entrepreneurship Project focusses its work upon.[3] The co-inspiration and relatability of the CDI volunteers working with the course participants is at the heart of its vision and its success.

Whilst the DAREnterprisers course is currently a small part of a necessarily wider picture of jobs-for-youth development programs, we believe that it can make progressive steps towards encouraging Tanzanian students to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and become social advocates for their own communities. It is at this crucial stage in the course that the initial enthusiasm of our participants begins to transform into tangible business propositions, and we can now start to look forward to the point when these students can pitch their ideas to a conference of industry experts and local organisations, and take the first steps towards pioneering positive social change.

[1]https://www.tai.or.tz/single-post/2016/10/31/Escalating-Youth-unemployment-in-Tanzania-The-grounds-and-clues-to-dilemma
[2] http://www.cambridgedevelopment.org/summer-blog/youth-unemployment-in-tanzania-bridging-the-skill-gap
[3] http://www.iyfnet.org/blog/6-steps-initiating-bolder-youth-driven-economic-growth-africa

Entrepreneurship Project – A Brief Intro to ‘Ideation to Investment’

Our final video of the ‘Brief Intro’ series this summer looks at the progression of the DAREnterprisers course.

​Following the businesses from the stage of ideation to investment, it highlights the practical, hands-on nature of the course and the support it intends to give the participants.

There will only be one more blog this summer – please do follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for updates throughout the year!

Entrepreneurship Project – A Brief Intro to DAREnterprisers

This is the first in a series of videos which provide an insight into the different areas of work undertaken by our projects this summer.

Here, volunteers from the Entrepreneurship Project introduce us to DAREnterprisers, an 8 week course for university students in Dar es Salaam, which encourages participants to develop business solutions to community problems within three areas: Water, Sanitation & Hygiene, Manufacturing & Urban Living, and Off-grid Energy.

For more information about DAREnterprisers, please see their website: http://darenterprisers.strikingly.com/