In 2020, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) launched a Business Plan Competition called “NINJA (Next Innovation with Japan),” as a response move to COVID-19. The JICA organized the regional business plan competition in Africa, “NINJA”, to discover the innovative business models and technologies that not only provide prescriptive solutions to the current pandemic but also respond to the expected radical changes in post-pandemic socio-economic reality. The NINJA initiative targeted innovative startups and organizations from 19 African countries, including Tanzania.
In Tanzania, three startups emerged winners of the competition. As part of the NINJA, JICA Tanzania Office conducted a proof of concept (PoC) business model which would mitigate the effects and/or has a potential to boost socio-economic development under the new COVID-19 reality with the awarded companies between February to October 2021. In January 2022, JICA published their documentary videos (recorded/edited by Trickster Limited<http://trickster-africa.com/>) of the activities of three startups in order to promote entrepreneurship in Tanzania, and to raise awareness of NINJA.
NINJA in Tanzania
In Tanzania, three (3) start-ups, Agrinfo Company Limited, Tanzania Maji Jibu Company Limited, and Toolboksi Technologies Limited, emerged as winners from a total of 90 applicants who presented their innovative ideas in the competition.
Tanzania Maji Jibu Company Limited
Year of Foundation: 2017
The Name of Founder: Mr. Tayeb Noorbhai
Location HQ: Arusha
Business: To provide clean water for rural area / job opportunity for young generation
Tanzania Maji Jibu capitalizes and equips emerging market entrepreneurs to create affordable access to drinking water and other necessities using a franchise model. Jibu has equipped co-investing entrepreneurs with turn-key franchise businesses that make safe drinking water affordable in their communities. They offer financing via a franchise model giving small entrepreneurs a large business advantage.
During the NINJA, Jibu has increased the number of franchisees in Tanzania to 20 factories. The franchisees (factories) in Mianzini, Moshono, Ilala, Goba, Tanga, and Tegeta started operation through NINJA. As a result, they created 60 new jobs and enabled 3,000 households to have access to safe and affordable drinking water.
Agrinfo Company Limited
Year of Foundation 2015
The Name of Founder Ms. Rose Funja
Location HQ: Dar es Salaam / Site: Moshi
Business Data collection and analysis for small holder farmers.
Agrinfo had developed and provided a digital platform solution, “JembeKilimo” that connects underserved smallholder farmers (SHFs) to the necessary elements that improve their productivity including smart-farming information.
Using mobile phone technology, all reliable data for agricultural activities are collected from drone and satellite imagery, for further analysis.
JembeKilimo provides farm health information to SHFs via Short Mail Service (SMS) in time to help foster productive yields.
In addition, the company won at the 3rd position as the excellent startup company in Africa at the Grand Final of the NINJA Competition in Tokyo, February 2021.
Toolboksi Technologies Limited
Year of Foundation: 2018
The Name of Founder: Mr. Julius J. Mbungo
Location HQ: Dar es Salaam
Business Job matching and training service for Tanzanian handymen.
Toolboksi is a technology e-commerce platform that provides informal sector workers (called artisans, handymen, or “fundis”) with consistent work opportunities and access to upskilling and career progression. It connects households and businesses with trusted and verified handymen conveniently for their various repair, installation, and maintenance service needs.
Currently, four out of five working Tanzanians (i.e., 80%) rely on informal work for their income and struggle to prove their trustworthiness and qualifications to customers. Toolboksi helps increase job opportunities for the workers in the informal sector by increasing their income and improving their livelihoods through their online platform, while offering quality services to the households and businesses who look for reliable “fundis” to do repairs, installation, and maintenance services.
An incorporated administrative agency in charge of administering Japan’s ODA (Official Development Assistance). It is one of the world’s largest bilateral aid agencies supporting socioeconomic development in developing countries in the world. In Tanzania, JICA has been a long partner of Tanzania for nearly 60 years in many sectors such as Agriculture, Industry, Infrastructure, etc. since 1962.
For further information, please contact
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Tanzania Office
P.O. Box 9450, Dar es Salaam, Tel: 022-211327/30