Dar es Salaam. Tanzanian young entrepreneurs have been challenged to develop good business plans to secure sufficient grants from donors that will enable them to run their businesses.
This was said by Prof Honest Prosper Ngowi, professor of economics, researcher and consultant in economics and business at Mzumbe University when he addressed participants at the National Tanzania Scale Forum. The forum, which was held on Thursday September 28 at the Bun Innovation Hub in the city, its theme was "Young Entrepreneurship for Social Impact".
“Money should always come as a second option after creativity. I encourage young entrepreneurs to spend much of their time generating business plans and money will flow automatically,” he noted.
Mr Ngowi also urged financial institutions such as banks in the country to start investing in empowering young entrepreneurs by providing them with affordable loans or grants to enable them to develop their businesses.
"I would like to see financial institutions providing grants to young entrepreneurs instead of providing them with loans. This can be made possible if the public-private partnership is well implemented in the country,"
The National Tanzania Scale Forum, which was organised by Aga Khan Development Network agencies (Aga Khan University and Aga Khan Foundation), brought together more than 100 participants mainly young entrepreneurs from across the country to discuss and share experience in entrepreneurship.
For his part, a director of East Africa Institute of Aga Khan University, Mr Alex Awiti, said the programme was essential as it imparted to young entrepreneurs skills and experience about entrepreneurship.
“Today's large turnout clearly demonstrates the readiness and commitment of Tanzanian young entrepreneurs to learn more about entrepreneurship. This year we conducted a similar programme in Uganda and in December plan to have another one in Kenya. The aim is to support young entrepreneurs to create job opportunities," he said.
He further urged the financial institutions to be more creative in terms of structuring financial support to young entrepreneurs.
In addition, one of the young entrepreneurs, who attended the programme, Ms Mecy Kitomora, a born entrepreneur, who stumbled upon ice cream business, while studying in the United Kingdom, said she was optimistic that the programme would enable her to gain more experience and knowledge about entrepreneurship, saying her mission was to develop her business in the future.
"After pursuing my Masters in Business Administration in UK, I returned to Tanzania. Later on, I came to realise that it is very hard to find a job here. So, I decided to become an entrepreneur," she said.
"My message to other young people is that, they should not rely on being employed instead they can engage in entrepreneurship, it pays off," she added.
For his part, Aga Khan Foundation Country Director Abdi Mallick said: "With youth unemployment rates surpassing 50 per cent, it is now urgent that all stakeholders, members of the public, the private sector, individuals and communities to come together and leverage youth potential."
"Today's programme will be followed by a summit on youth entrepreneurship that will feature young entrepreneurs from whole East African region to be held next year."