Even though Africa has very many young and talented innovators, most of their start-ups suffer from failure to break even, are bogged down by poor business governance issues and eventually succumb to early exits from the market.
Among the major factors that contribute to these early exits is a lack of proper business mentorship, which is essential at every stage. In fact, in the fast-paced and competitive world of business, mentors act as key catalysts for start-ups’ growth.
In Tanzania, Impact Driven Consulting (IDC) is through its Founders’ Academy initiative advocating for the development of sustainable and inclusive start-ups and digital solutions.
According to Angel Adam Kobelo, the managing director of IDC, Founders Academy exists to support and empower African startups, providing them with the resources they need to succeed.
“At Founders Academy, we have four key focus areas. One is network building. We understand the importance of partnerships for businesses to succeed; especially the ones in the digital business. We also have one for Investor readiness because we understand the importance of products being ready to take in funds to scale. We also do capacity building because there is a significant lack of skills required for the success of start-ups. The fourth one is fundraising. Most start-ups lack the capital to implement their solutions. So, we help them unlock funds that will help their start-ups to become more scalable and reach wider markets,” Angel Adam Kobelo explained.
She noted that Tanzania’s innovations and technology landscape are very promising with policymakers starting to notice the potential impact these solutions can have on the economy.
“The Central Bank just recently launched a sandbox. To us, this is a big step because at least they now recognize that there is a need for such a thing and they are moving towards that direction. We may not be where we want to be yet but there is hope from the fact that they are listening and considering what we are requesting for,” Angel Adam Kobelo said.
She added: “Regarding the regulatory environment in Tanzania, especially with FinTechs and similar digital solutions, there are two issues. One, there is an information gap between the innovators and regulators. The regulators don’t understand what the innovators are trying to do. But also, some of the innovators don’t know in detail the compliance and regulatory requirements they need to fulfil. In case they know, it is either too expensive or takes a long time. The second issue is the pace at which these two are moving. The regulators usually take a long time yet start-ups in the digital space need a fast-paced decision-making process because they have to keep up with global technology changes.”
We interacted with Founders Academy on Day 32 of the 40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative for Tanzania. First implemented in Uganda, 40 Days 40 FinTechs is an annual FinTech Innovation initiative presented by HiPipo to recognize and celebrate individuals and organizations who are making significant strides in promoting financial inclusivity through the use of technology.
It is aimed at promoting innovation and collaboration among FinTechs in Africa. The initiative is designed to provide FinTechs and startups with mentorship, training, exposure, and networking opportunities to help them grow and scale their businesses.
“The importance of initiatives like 40 Days 40 FinTechs is that they give visibility to innovators which pushes the ecosystem players to work hard and create more solutions. This initiative allows for start-ups especially in FinTech to tell their stories in a way that showcases the actual impact they have within the community. For example, FinTechs in Tanzania are changing the Banking Industry and also revolutionizing Insurance. This initiative is shining a spotlight on such stories,” Angel Adam Kobelo said.
40 Days 40 FinTechs initiative Tanzania is part of HiPipo’s broader Include EveryOne Program that is generously supported by the Gates Foundation and implemented in partnership with Level One Project, ICTC Tanzania, Ideation Corner, Cyber PLC Academy, INFITX, Crosslake Technologies, NG Films, Founders Academy and Mojaloop Foundation.
The Include EveryOne program is a beacon of acceleration of FinTech Innovation, empowerment for Women in FinTech and a catalyst for investment and development in the ICT sector. Minus 40 Days 40 FinTechs, other initiatives under the Include EveryOne Program are the FinTech Landscape Exhibition, Women in FinTech Hackathon, Summit and Incubator, Digital Impact Awards Africa and the Digital and Financial Inclusion Summit. HiPipo is recognized as a premier advocate of digital Innovation and financial inclusion champion, a fervent proponent of the #LevelOneProject. HiPipo has been at the forefront, actively promoting digital innovation, Instant, Inclusive Payment Systems (IIPS), and DFS across Africa. With a legacy of advising, mobilizing, and facilitating the adoption of inclusive financial services, HiPipo’s efforts have been nothing short of transformative! For almost two decades, HiPipo has successfully facilitated the inclusive adoption of these crucial services.