Platform for innovators to connect with corporates

Tuesday July 30 2019

Vodacom Tanzania Managing Director Hisham Hendi

Vodacom Tanzania Managing Director Hisham Hendi speaks to innovators and corporates at the ‘Corporate Unwind’ held at Smart Lab. PHOTOI SMART LAB. 

By Success Reporter @TheCitizenTz

One of the things that keeps most young innovators awake at night, is how to jumpstart their ideas. They look for ways to bring their ideas into reality.

At the center of it all is the need for adequate financial backing. Where to get the financial support is the big question. But funding alone cannot propel a good idea to its full potential. Other factors such as guidance and fostering proper mental growth are pertinent to the success and sustainability of an innovation.

Luckily, innovators in Tanzania are not entirely discarded in uncharted waters. The corporate world, with its financial muscles and business acumen coupled with a strong sense of leadership, has come to the rescue – the saving grace that innovators need.

In reaction to the hardship facing innovators, Smart Lab on Friday hosted a new event under the name “Corporate Unwind” aimed at bringing together innovators and top corporate leaders to share their experiences and professional journey to inspire growth among innovators in Tanzania and equip each one with the right tools of support.

Held at Smart Lab premises in Dar es Salaam, the new series will be conducted quarterly every year, featuring top influential corporates in the Tanzanian ecosystem, invited to speak about their passion, tools and the different hacks they use to stay on top of their game while running the multimillion business establishments and companies in the various industries.

This event assembled professionals from Mobile Telcos, Tech/innovation hubs, financial institutions, industry Associations, the private sector, corporates, entrepreneurs, ecosystem builders, startups, university professors, Development partners, Embassy’ partners and key players in the tech and innovation community.


Mr. Hisham Hendi, Managing Director of Vodacom Tanzania was the main Guest Speaker for the opening series of “Corporate Unwind” and spoke under the theme “What it takes to be a leader in the growing innovation of Tanzania.” He shared deep insights on challenges one goes through in the corporate industry and how to remain relevant, functional yet inspiring. Mr. Hisham also emphasized Vodacom Tanzania’s interest on working with startups and innovators to move the Eco system forward and mentioned networking as one of the key important tools to exposure and opening doors to meeting different people and acquiring a bank of knowledge through every interaction.

“I am excited to be here, and to have been chosen as the first guest to speak to these great minds,” he said.

Speaking during the event Smart Codes C.E.O Mr. Edwin Bruno said that “Smart Lab believes strongly in building a better innovation ecosystem and to achieve this, we provide a platform for creating and inspiring innovators, students, startups, entrepreneurs, corporates and other responsible parties to learn from each other on how to operate in this ever growing, ever changing innovation ecosystem.”

“We are on the road to bridging a gap between learning institutions, startups and corporates and the result will be to create top notch products, solutions and services that answer to unique problems that were identified from ideation stages,” he added.

By tapping into the students, startups and corporates minds and equipping each one with the right tools of support while using the different programs like “Corporate unwind”, startups and innovators will be able to learn what it feels like to be in corporates’ shoes and vice versa and in return adapt and produce positive results on both ends.

“As one of the leading innovation hubs in Tanzania, who deal with startups every day, we realised this gap needs to be filled so we invited successful corporates with vast experience in different sectors to join us for an engaging discussion and networking that will be beneficial for all parties to leverage on what is needed for the ecosystem and in the end come up with market fit solutions,” Bruno said.

He further thanked Mr. Hisham Hendi for honoring the invitation and accepting to share his knowledge with startups.

Edwin concluded by saying that “this is a first step in the larger objective of building a community of Learning Institutions, Entrepreneurs, investors and ecosystem supporters between the Corporate and Innovation Industry. The goal is to create an opportunity for innovators, telecom companies, financial institutions, investors and thought leaders to work together to improve the Innovation ecosystem across Tanzania and Africa but as well create a space for open, dynamic, valuable and spontaneous dialogue.”

The Corporate Unwind event hopes to foster more collaborations between the growing African innovation ecosystem and corporates by bridging the gap that has been existing for long between learning institutions, startups and corporates.