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Vodacom explained in a statement yesterday (10 September) that its Vodacom Digital Accelerator programme aims to help early-stage and growth-stage tech startups become profitable and revenue-generating businesses.
The three-month programme, which will run yearly, will identify and support startups operating in the mobile, telecom, fintech, media, health, education and e-commerce verticals.
The three-month Vodacom Digital Accelerator programme will be held yearly
The initiative will also leverage corporate resources, networks, mentors and partners, with participants set to present their progress to a panel of investors at the end of each acceleration period.
At the conclusion of each cohort, the top startups will get further support from Vodacom, Smart Lab and other partners for an additional six months.
Vodacom Tanzania MD Hisham Hendi (pictured above, middle with Vodacom corporate affairs director Rosalynn Mworia, left with Smart Lab’s Edwin Bruno, right) said that the partnership between the telco and Smart Lab is a “crucial move” towards providing opportunities to startup businesses which will benefit communities, especially the youth.
The initiative, he said, is an opportunity for startups and innovators to showcase their products and also gain from through partnership deals with Vodacom, mentorship, technical assistance, marketing, exposure to Vodacom and Smart Lab’s large network of partners as well as access to customers to test and experience their solutions.
Smart Lab CEO Edwin Bruno said the accelerator and innovation platform is “excited” to be part of the programme. He added that together with Vodacom, Smart Lab hopes to create a brand building platform for tech savvy youth.
Bruno pointed out that the innovation community has “mushroomed” in Tanzania from just a handful of hubs in 2011 to more than 45 in 2019. However, he added that there’s been slower involvement from the corporates.
“Vodacom in this partnership with Smart Lab will lead in bridging that gap.
“We look forward to a tech-evolved future for Tanzania that is full of disruptive solutions which will positively impact the coming generations,” said Bruno.
Featured image, left to right: Vodacom director of corporate affairs Rosalynn Mworia, Vodacom Tanzania MD Hisham Hendi and Smart Lab CEO Edwin Bruno (Supplied)