Dar es Salaam. Embassy of France in Tanzania has dished out a grant of euros 570, 000 (about Sh1.4 billion) to support innovation and entrepreneurship among university students through a newly launched project, it was revealed yesterday.
Dubbed ‘Innoversity’, a two-year project which was officially launched yesterday, is funded by the French Embassy in Tanzania and implemented by Sahara Ventures whose mission is to build a stable innovation, technology and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Africa through consultancy and investment.
Speaking at the launching ceremony, Ambassador of France to Tanzania Nabil Hajlaoui, said Innoversity Project will focus on developing an enabling environment for innovation and entrepreneurship in three universities of Sokoine University of Agriculture (Sua), Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (Arusha) and the University of Iringa.
The project, the Ambassador expounded, aimed at supporting Higher Education Institutions students (HEIs), lecturers, researchers, and management to integrate innovation and entrepreneurial approaches in their works to address the skills gaps and create employment opportunities for youths.
He said the project had three main objectives that include strengthening institutional and material capacity of HEIs, supporting student’s entrepreneurship journey and promoting entrepreneurship for employment.
“We are committed to supporting Tanzania Higher Education Institutions by incorporating innovation and entrepreneurship beyond academics and research in universities,” said the Ambassador.
Sahara Ventures CEO Jumanne Mtambalike said the criteria for selecting the beneficiaries of the project from the aforementioned universities will be set soon.
He said the launch of the project came at the right time when the government’s commitment towards embracing innovation and entrepreneurship is very high.
“It is a platform where the technology transfer and commercialisation will happen,” said Mr Mtambalike.
Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (Costech) director of knowledge management Samson Mwela said the innoversity project is complementing the existing government’s efforts.
The efforts he was referring to are those related to equipping universities with knowledge, tools and promoting resources, innovation, self- employment and entrepreneurship skills.
“The project is looking to work with on-campus innovation hubs and technology transfer offices to encourage innovation, entrepreneurship, technology transfer and research commercialisation to create new solutions and employment opportunities,” said Mr Mwela.