On the 22nd of October Funguo held an ‘Innovation Ecosystem Meetup’ in Arusha, co-hosted by Ndoto Hub Arusha. The Funguo ‘Kaskazini’ Innovation Ecosystem Meet Up provided a platform for innovation stakeholders to learn about the newly established Funguo Innovation Program and inform the opportunities and challenges that are contextual to the Northern zone innovation ecosystem, providing an opportunity to inform on the Funguo Innovation Program strategy of implementation for national impact and success. In addition to a unique opportunity for Innovation hubs in the Northern zone to network, share and learn from each other and forge paths for collaboration and business partnerships, the event provided the Funguo Innovation Program team members with an opportunity to meet and learn from the Northern zone innovation ecosystem of enablers and supporters and investors to understand challenges and needs that may be unique to the northern zone.
A total of 36 innovation stakeholders (mostly hubs and startups representatives) attended the event, with a strong female presence (with 21 female participants and 15 male participants). Over 90% of the participants were from within the Northern Zone innovation ecosystem and a few stakeholders who participated were from as far as Morogoro, Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar in Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya. The event facilitated a rich discussion on topics of interest to the Ecosystem including the need to bridge the academia- industries gap, hub capacities, innovation funding, and the need for continued communication and networking from Funguo to the Ecosystem. Funguo sees this Meetup as the start of a series of Innovation ecosystem engagements for the Program and plans to do a series of similar events as part of communication, outreach and ensuring programme responsiveness.