Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

6 February 2013

Tanzania: Programme Seeks to Mentor Local Entrepreneurs

LOCAL emerging entrepreneurs will have a chance to be mentored by seasoned personalities in the field, thanks to the formation of a comprehensive programme that seeks to turn around their fortunes.

The Mara Launchpad Tanzania is an open-plan business incubation centre that will house 95 of the country's emerging entrepreneurs. The programme launch will coincide with the opening of an office at Mayfair Plaza along Old Bagamoyo Road in Dar es Salaam next Monday.

The mentors include Mohammed Dewji who is the Chief Executive Officer of Mohammed Enterprises Limited, Lawrence Masha (Managing Partner - IMMMA Advocates), Margareth Chacha (Managing Director - Tanzania Women's Bank) and Emelda Mwamanga (Owner - Relim Entertainment).

The launch pad is the brainchild of an entrepreneur Ashish Thakkar, who is the Founder of Mara Group and Mara Foundation, which is the non-profit social enterprise of Mara Group. The Foundation's mission is to provide comprehensive support services including mentorship, funding, incubation centre workspace and business training to entrepreneurs.

"With these support services, Mara Foundation will transform entrepreneurs' business ideas into profitable and thriving business entities that will employ others and contribute to the local and national economies.

"The launch pad will host a Mara Mentor event designed to match budding entrepreneurs with seasoned business leaders in a 6-month one-on-one mentor relationship which will kick-off the first cycle of paired-matches with a fun and intensive speed-dating format business pitch event on March 1, at the Mayfair Plaza," reads in part the company's statement.

Although the Mara Group is headquartered in Dubai, the Mara Foundation solely focuses on Africa and has country operations in Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Nigeria.

"It's particularly important to plant a Mara launch pad in Tanzania because the economic climate is ripe and ready for emerging entrepreneurs to grow their businesses." said Shekhar Kanabar, Synarge Group Director. "First businesses need an affordable and professional workspace and second they need mentorship. I am happy to serve as a mentor for a business."

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