Greetings everyone! It's that time of the month again where through this newsletter, we get to catch up with all the amazing Funguo Innovation Program updates. Having just celebrated International Women's Month, we also want to take this opportunity to give a special shout-out to all the women who continue to break barriers and make waves in their respective industries. We're so proud of all the hard work and dedication you put into your businesses every day!
This March, in honour of this special month, Funguo directed its efforts towards supporting women-led businesses and highlighting our women-led investees. Our goal was to shine a bright light on women and their tireless efforts in making the world a better place.
But that's not all, amongst our many other activities, we also launched our new Funguo Webinar Series, a platform geared towards bringing together expert speakers to share their insights and experiences on a range of topics related to the Funguo Innovation Program's mandate.
So! It's been a tremendous job done by the team this month, but let us not divulge too much, let's allow you to sit back, grab a cup of coffee, and get ready to be inspired by the incredible work from our team, it's partners as well as our donors.
A New Dawn for Tanzanian Startups?
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris talks to Startup Founders
The Vice President of the United States of America, H.E Kamala Harris, paid a visit to the Tanzania Startup Association in Dar es Salaam during her two-day trip to Tanzania. She praised the innovative skills of the young entrepreneurs who are addressing significant socio-economic issues. Two of the attendees were Funguo Investees Niajiri and Techy8, whose startups were among the businesses that the Vice President visited. She spoke with the Founder and CEO of Niajiri, Lillian Secelela, to gain a better understanding of how the Niajiri platform works and how it has come to be one of the most technologically advanced startups in Tanzania.
Celebrating International Women’s Month:
Accelerating Support for Women-Led Tech Startups
As the world celebrated International Women's Day this year, the spotlight was on the role of technology and innovation in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals. However, despite the tremendous potential that technology and innovation hold, the digital divide continues to deepen, resulting in a growing gender gap that threatens to leave women behind. This urgent issue demands immediate attention from all stakeholders to harness the power of innovation and technology and create a more equitable future.
Against this backdrop and building on the success of the Tanzania Women and Tech Conference, UNDP's Funguo Innovation Program joined forces with Launchpad to organize a breakfast event that brought together development partners, stakeholders and women led business founders, to discuss the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs in Tanzania.
The event provided a platform for stakeholders to discuss how to break down the barriers that are holding women-led startups back. From limited access to financing to a lack of mentorship and networking opportunities, participants acknowledged the numerous obstacles that women entrepreneurs face - not just in Tanzania, but around the world.
Lyfplus Advances Telemedicine:
The Future of Healthcare in Tanzania
In a world where time is money, Lyfplus has revolutionized the healthcare industry by providing a quick, easy, and accessible way for patients to receive medical services. The platform offers a user-friendly and intuitive experience that allows patients to browse and book appointments with specialist doctors and hospitals without leaving their homes. Once an appointment is booked, patients can join a virtual consultation with the doctor, eliminating the need to travel to the hospital. The doctor can diagnose and prescribe medication through the platform, which can be delivered straight to the patient's doorstep. Lyfplus has partnered with top-notch specialist doctors and hospitals to provide high-quality medical services to patients.
Patients can choose from a wide range of medical specialties, including cardiology, paediatrics, gynaecology, and general medicine. The platform's
emphasis on patient ratings, qualifications, and experience helps ensure that patients receive the best care possible.
With Lyfplus, patients can access medical services from anywhere, at any time. The platform also provides a safe and secure way for patients to communicate with doctors, reducing the risk of infection and the need to visit a hospital. Lyfplus has revolutionized the way patients access medical services and has made healthcare more accessible to everyone.
A Chat with Investee Fixchap: The Uber for Home Repair and Installation Services
“In today's fast-paced world,” says Prince Tillya, co-Founder of Fixchap, “time is a precious commodity, and homeowners often struggle to find the right service providers for their home repair and installation needs. This is where Fixchap comes in. We created a digital platform for homeowners to connect with trusted and reliable handymen within their locality.”
Fixchap, who is one among Funguo's investees, provides an easy and user-friendly platform where homeowners can effortlessly submit their repair and installation requests. The app then matches them with the most qualified handymen based on their location and specific needs.
Fixchap's platform hosts handymen that are independent contractors who can accept jobs based on their availability and schedules, ensuring flexibility and convenience for both homeowners and handymen.
“We have been dubbed the ‘Uber for home services,’ he said laughing, “but I believe it’s because this revolutionary model is changing the game and simplifying the way homeowners find and book handyman services.”
All handymen undergo a vetting process before they are allowed to offer their services. This includes background checks, license and insurance verifications, and reference checks. But not just that, homeowners can also track their handyman's location in real-time, and get notifications when the handyman is on the way. One can also rate their experience after the job is complete. “And that’s why," he concluded, “I can confidently say, Fixchap is an excellent example of how technology can be used to solve real problems.”
DeveloPPP Adds Funguo Investee Aatif Aquaponics to Its Portfolio
Aquaponics is a method of farming that combines aquaculture (fish farming) with hydroponics (growing plants in water) to create a closed-loop system that recirculates water and nutrients. This approach has numerous advantages over traditional farming methods, including 100% organic produce, a smaller footprint for large-scale production, and a 90% reduction in water usage compared to conventional farming.
Aatif Aquaponics, a Funguo Innovation Program investee, has developed a smart farming system that harnesses the power of aquaponics to grow fruits and vegetables in a sustainable and eco-friendly way. Aatif Aquaponics has taken this innovative approach to the next level, using technology and data to optimize their farming operations and achieve maximum efficiency. Their system is equipped with sensors that monitor water quality, temperature, and other key metrics, allowing them to fine-tune their production and ensure the health and growth of their crops.
But Aatif Aquaponics isn't just changing the way we farm. They're also making a positive impact on the environment and local communities. By reducing water usage and eliminating the need for tractors and chemicals, their eco-friendly farming practices are helping to mitigate the impact of climate change and promote a healthier, more sustainable future.
For their great work, Aatif Aquaponics has recently been selected for the prestigious DeveloPPP Ventures funding! With the DeveloPPP Ventures funding, Aatif Aquaponics will be able to build a new production facility, hire additional staff, and increase their outreach efforts to educate more farmers about the benefits of aquaponics. We are proud to support this incredible team and their mission to create a more sustainable and equitable food system.
Onwards and upwards Aatif!
Ecosystem News and Developments
Funding for Startups
CRDB Bank partners for iMBEJU Youth Startup Empowerment Program
CRDB bank has recently signed an agreement with the ICT Commission (ICTC) and the National Science and Technology Commission (COSTECH) through its 'IMBEJU' program. The program is focused on empowering women and youth economically by providing them with capital and support to develop their businesses. CRDB Bank also announced the establishment of a non-profit institution, the CRDB Bank Foundation. The Foundation's responsibility is to establish and implement innovative, sustainable, and participatory programs aimed at bringing social and economic prosperity as IMBEJU does. Interested applicants can apply through ICT Commission and COSTECH.
Look out for these Upcoming Ecosystem Events!
Innovation Week Tanzania 2023
The 9th Innovation Week Tanzania, organized by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, COSTECH, and UNDP's Funguo Innovation Programme, will take place on April 24-28, 2023. The theme for this year will be "Innovation for a Competitive Economy"
The Innovation and Tech Forum - April 2023
Media Convergency, COSTECH, ICTC, and UNDP Tanzania's Funguo Innovation Programme will be hosting the 5th Innovation and Tech Forum on April 21, 2023. The event will focus on "Innovating Policy - A Forward-Looking and Integrated Approach to Policymaking in the Digital Age."
Funguo Launch of Second Call Funding - 2023
It’s that time of the year again when UNDP’s Funguo Innovation Program embarks on its mission to provide catalytic funding for scalable impact ventures in Tanzania. So! Stay tuned for the Launch of Funguo’s Second Call for Funding coming this April!
The Funguo Innovation Programme is a UNDP Initiative funded by the European Union as part of the “Business Environment, Growth and Innovation” (BEGIN) Programme. Other funders include UNDP itself and the UK through the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). The programme is implemented by UNDP Tanzania in partnership with UNCDF and works in close collaboration with the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH), the ICT Commission and various other partners.
FUNGUO works to create a foundation for, and unlock the potential of, Tanzanian innovators to establish scalable start-ups capable of attracting impact and commercial investments.
We are grateful for your support and commitment to our mission. We hope that the stories and updates in this newsletter inspire you to continue exploring innovative solutions to some of the most pressing challenges facing our world today.
The Funguo Innovation Program Team.