Seedstars and Omidyar Partner to launch a Start-up Incubator in Tanzania
By Rolex Owino
Swiss-based company, Seedstars, in partnership with investment firm, Omidyar Network, is looking to further extend its reach in its drive to support the growth of promising enterprises in emerging economies.Dar es Salaam, Tanzanian’s capital, looks set to become the company’s fifth hub in the African continent – having been placed as the preferred location of this new strategic partnership between the two investment giants.
What will now come to be known as Seedstars Tanzania – is expected to be launched on the 10th of July, 2018, as part of Seedstars’ envisioned mission. The mission is centred around launching hubs that are instrumental to the growth of start-ups, as well as providing targeted start-up resources and benefits that are vital to the requirements of start-ups – at different stages of development.
As pointed out by Romulo Navarrete, Head of Operations at Seedspace – the Tanzanian ecosystem has been the subject of renewed interest from the company in recent times, as witnessed by the Seedstars World programmes that involved engagement with both local and international stakeholders. He also talked up Omidyar’s role in the launching of the hub, which is billed to consolidate the activities of the company in the East African country. It is hoped that the partnership, which is expected to culminate in the launching of the hub, will create for Tanzania the gateway to a sturdy international community through which resources and expertise can be leveraged. “Omidyar Network and Seedstars have been major partners for many years. It made great sense now that we joined forces to provide a greater impact to Seedspace members,” he further stated.
The launch of the start-up incubator is expected to bring together some of the best minds and entrepreneurship experts, with such names as Edwin Bruno, Founder and CEO of Smart Codes and one of the pioneers of tech entrepreneurship in Tanzania, and Tanya Mulamula, Seedstars World partner and ecosystem builder – being integral to the launching of the initiative. Other key figures that are expected to grace the launch include Benjamin Fernandes, Founder and CEO at Nala and a household name in the Tanzanian ecosystem, Lilian Makoi, Seedstars Alumni from Jamii, as well as Charles Matondane, from Simu Bima, who were crowned as winners of the 2017 edition of Seedstars World Tanzania.
In the words of Ameya Upadhyay, Investments Principal at Omidyar, “we are thrilled to join forces with Seedstars to provide a vibrant and dynamic entrepreneurial community in Tanzania, with a strong platform on which to build their innovative businesses.” He further hinted at the idea that the East African nation is witnessing something of a proliferation of visionaries and new ideas, and through the new Seedspace hub, entrepreneurs in the country will be afforded the opportunity to take advantage of Seedstar’s global network, tech expertise, and start-up acceleration programmes. In his reckoning, this should enable the execution of ideas and realisation of true potentials, so as to bring about improvements in the living conditions of a good number people in Africa.
In its current format, Seedspace can lay claim to nine hubs; which includes two in Geneva, Switzerland (La Chevillarde and La Praille); one in Lagos, Nigeria, another one in Abidjan, Ivory Coast; a couple in Colombia (Bogota and Medellin); one in Cairo, Egypt; another in Cape Town, South Africa; and now the latest one in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Plans may also be in the pipeline to launch two more hubs in North Africa’s Morocco, and Asia’s Myanmar in the near future.
According to Seedspace’s Head of Operations, it has been incorporated into the company’s vision to create about 30 hubs around the world. In his view, the expansion is deemed imperative to fostering more impact to emerging local ecosystems. By linking up different locations, it is envisaged that the initiative will create access to a broader community of international enterprises, mentors, investors, and corporate firms that consider innovation as central to their motives and ideals.
Source: African Strategic-Ventures (ASV) & Wee-tracker