Upcoming entrepreneurs on Thursday literally walked the president's dream of making job creators rather than seekers out of fresh graduates in information and communication technology (ICT), at an inaugural launch of an initiative dubbed 'Dar es Salaam Teknohama Business Incubator.'
The programme kicked off at the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (Costech) in Dar es Salaam and attracted some 40 young men and women eager to try out their 'big' ideas of self-employment and financial freedom.
"This was President (Jakaya) Kikwete's idea it was then picked up by Costech and others ," says George Mulamula, Chief Executive Officer of the programme now temporarily housed at the Commission.
In its assessment, the ICT business incubator is informed by a growing realization that "more and more people are getting business for themselves" but warns: " small business is hard work." Mr Mulamula has been recruited - or 'poached' as he puts it - from Rwanda where he worked as an expatriate and successfully launched one of the most elaborate ICT programme within East Africa.
Unlike many sessions of this kind, there weren't any opening ceremonies or speeches - just bare knuckles and hands-on brace tacks. For starters, World Bank consultant Steve Giddings outlined the many reasons driving people into businesses.
They include having a great idea that will really work and making it work; wanting independence and the ability to be your own boss; living in a remote area where there aren't many jobs to go to - so starting your own business; running a business to provide an essential service in a community or running a business that links to a bigger business - tourist services, niche food products and tourism developments.
For a token 50 US dollars (about 75,000/-) any aspiring entrepreneur could join a pre-incubation for up to three months and if proven viable, become part of a network of mentoring and coaching that would provide the 'initiates' with basic infrastructure -- from space (viable workstation) to telecoms, internet - and an introduction to financial services and big business names.