FUNGUO Launches Second Call For Funding


Message from the UNDP Resident Representative:

Enable Young Men and Women to shape their own future 

Greetings! On behalf of the UNDP team here in Tanzania, I am excited to headline this 4th issue of our FUNGUO Newsletter with great news to the startup ecosystem. We officially launched the second call for funding applications this week. This momentous occasion would not have been possible without the generous support of our funding partners, the European Union and the British Government. I would also like to express our gratitude to the Government of Tanzania and our esteemed partner, UNCDF, for joining us on this journey to foster the growth of impact-driven startups. 

But why does this matter? Tanzania is blessed with a young and dynamic population, with over 77% of its people below the age of 35, according to the recent population census. This presents us with a tremendous opportunity to invest in these young individuals and empower them to shape their own destiny. By harnessing their energy, ingenuity, and innovativeness, we can unlock their full potential. The Funguo Innovation Programme is one such initiative that aims to accomplish this goal. 

The launch of the Second Call for Funding Applications under FUNGUO signifies yet another milestone in UNDP's commitment to fostering innovation and driving national development goals. We firmly believe in the power of the many innovative young people who dedicate themselves to bringing about positive change through entrepreneurship. Their endeavours not only create job opportunities for themselves and fellow youths but also contribute to the sustainable development of our nation. UNDP remains dedicated to supporting them through initiatives like FUNGUO, thanks to the unwavering support of our partners, such as the European Union and the UK Government. 

We are committed to collaborating with other partners to cultivate a robust pipeline of early-stage businesses. By doing so, Tanzania can attract more investors and further bolster its thriving startup economy. We also aim to forge partnerships with financial institutions to complement our respective efforts in facilitating business scaling. Our partnership with Stanbic Bank is a source of great pride, and we are currently engaging in discussions with other potential collaborators. 

In conclusion, I humbly implore all stakeholders from the public and private sectors, as well as fellow development partners, to align their efforts towards unlocking the potential of our youth. The opportunities that lie ahead for them are vast, but they require investment to be fully capitalized upon. Let us enable young entrepreneurs to build businesses around the myriad social challenges we face. By empowering them to create their own jobs and wealth, we simultaneously contribute to the prosperity of our nation. This path not only avoids the societal ills that could arise from having idle and disillusioned young individuals but also paves the way for a brighter future for all.

Asanteni sana and enjoy the reading!

Christine Musisi 

Resident Representative, UNDP Tanzania 

Funding the Future: 

FUNGUO Takes Startup Scene to New Heights with Second Funding Call 

We kickstart this newsletter with an exciting announcement: UNDP Tanzania, through FUNGUO, in partnership with UNCDF, European Union and the UK Government, has launched its Second Call for Funding Applications. That’s right! The stage is set and FUNGUO is once again on the hunt for remarkable legally registered impact-driven startups and ground-breaking scalable SMEs, owned predominantly by the talented citizens of Tanzania. 


Valued at an impressive USD$600,000 (equivalent to 1.4 billion Tanzanian shillings), the call aims to foster the scaling of innovation ventures that contribute to national development goals and the Sustainable Development Goals. It's an incredible opportunity for Tanzanian entrepreneurs to make a lasting impact. Successful applicants will receive an equity-free responsible grant ranging from TZS 50 million to TZS 100 million. 


This call is open until the 30th of June to ventures that meet the following criteria: the venture must be legally registered in Tanzania (either incorporated or with a business name registration). Moreover, it should be predominantly owned by passionate Tanzanian citizens, with a stake of 51% or more. Subsequently, FUNGUO is also seeking ventures that have transcended the ideation and pilot stages, demonstrating a viable product that has already gained traction in the market, and, only that ventures with a funding history of no more than $100,000 (including equity & debt) will be given priority. In addition to this, this year, FUNGUO has set a 30% quota specifically for women led businesses. In turn, the selection criteria will pay close attention to innovation; business viability and potential to scale; team and management; as well as development impact. 

Read all about the call, the application process, eligibility and evaluation criteria here: FUNGUO Call for Funding Applications and apply now via the FUNGUO Application Form. If you still have questions, you can join the info sessions that will be running weekly through the application period at Info Session | FUNGUO Call for Funding Applications 

Watch the highlights of FUNGUO’s Second Call for Funding Applications below!

FUNGUO's Second Call for Funding Applications Highlights

Advancing Inclusion: 

FUNGUO’s Second Call for Funding Adopts 30% Quota for Women 

In a significant stride towards promoting gender equality, FUNGUO, through its Second Call for Funding, has reserved at least 30% of the available funds exclusively for women-founded or women-led startup companies. This presents a remarkable opportunity for women to showcase their innovative ideas and entrepreneurial spirit. By implementing the quota, FUNGUO aims to bridge the gender gap in the startup ecosystem, empowering women and enabling their active participation in the realm of entrepreneurship. 


The move reaffirms FUNGUO's commitment to fostering a diverse and inclusive startup ecosystem, where women are given equal opportunities to thrive. It recognizes the immense potential and talent that women bring to the table, underscoring the importance of their contributions in driving innovation and economic growth. 


This ground-breaking initiative aligns with the broader global movement towards achieving gender parity and empowering women in various fields, including entrepreneurship and innovation. By providing women with a platform to access funding and resources, FUNGUO aims to catalyze their entrepreneurial journeys and foster a supportive ecosystem that encourages their success. 


All aspiring women innovators and entrepreneurs are encouraged to seize this opportunity and submit their applications to the FUNGUO Second Call for Funding. From this, FUNGUO looks to celebrating and supporting the remarkable women who are breaking barriers, reshaping industries, and leaving an indelible mark on the entrepreneurial landscape. 

A Year of Triumph:  

Celebrating the Impact of FUNGUO's First Funding Cycle 

Reflecting on FUNGUO’s previous call for funding announced in mid-June of 2022, the first group of 26 impact-driven startups emerged as true champions, securing the then available, TZS 2.6 billion in catalytic funding. Fast forward one year, and we continue to celebrate the tremendous accomplishments made by the FUNGUO investees. KCG Aquatec Fish Farming Ltd and Aquacom for example, both involved in modern fish farming, secured government tenders worth TZS 2.7 billion and TZS 2.65 billion respectively. Aatif Aquaponics, an investee working that uses aquaponics, an innovative smart farming method, and Plant Biodefenders, an organic pesticide manufacturer, stood out among competitors, earning Euros 100,000 each in funding from DeveloPPP Ventures, in part thanks to FUNGUO’s funding. Niajiri and Techy8 had the honour of being selected for an audience with H.E. Kamala Harris during her visit to Tanzania, recognizing their outstanding contributions. And let’s not forget Rosho Tanzania, who not was not only awarded the esteemed Best Export Company of The Year Award by the Tanzania Women Chamber of Commerce but has also successfully expanded their market to Europe. 

With the support of FUNGUO funding, Somabags has harnessed advanced technology to greatly enhance its manufacturing capabilities. As a result, the company has successfully developed a range of solar bag designs that offer an impressive 8 hours of lighting and the ability to charge three mobile phones every day. This breakthrough has had a significant impact on Tanzanian children living in rural areas, always providing them with uninterrupted access to light.

These success stories are a testament to the transformative power of FUNGUO’s funding program. By empowering and supporting these entrepreneurs, we are witnessing first-hand how innovative ideas can shape industries, generate economic growth, and contribute to sustainable development. 

The Role of Catalytic Funding for Startups:  

SSC Capital’s CEO, Salum Awardh, joins in on the FUNGUO Webinar Series

In light of FUNGUO’s successful launch of its Second Call for Funding, the importance of discussions around catalytic funding and its impact on startups became increasingly significant. To address this pressing matter, FUNGUO decided to focus its monthly webinar series on a fireside chat that delved into the topic. 


Salum Awardh, the CEO of SSC Capital and Chairman of The Cereals and Other Products Board of Tanzania (CPB), joined the webinar as a guest speaker, and during the session, he provided valuable insights, case studies and knowledge regarding catalytic funding for startups and early-stage businesses in Tanzania. 

“There are several key things to remember when raising capital,” Salum said to the audience who tuned in, “however, these I would say, are my top 10:”

  • Raising capital is both an art and a science. It’s not just about the numbers, focus also on the narrative.

  • Don’t just look for any money, look for smart money. Always secure funding from an investor that will give you more than just money.

  • Never raise money too early, or too late. Because getting money at the wrong time, will most likely work against you.

  • Look for financing that will give you a longer runway. Best case scenario, a 36month runway.

  • Do your financial modelling, and while doing this, use only the metrics of the industry standard.

  • Every investor is moving away from valuations, and onto profitability. So when you're raising money, make sure you clearly show, what your path to profitability will be.

  • It takes a list of 100 investors, to get an audience of 5, so when you're raising money, make sure you have a long list of potential investors, so that you can at least get the handful that you need!

  • Always follow the 30, 20, 10 rule.  30 is for the seconds you will spend when you are opening a discussion with an investor, 20 are the minutes you will use to do your presentation, and 10 is the number of slides you will have in your pitch deck.

  • Capital raising is all about traction. Traction, traction, and even more traction!

  • Raising capital takes time. So! Always prepare yourself for the wait.

May Musings:

Capturing FUNGUO's Key Ventures and Insights!

As you can see, it was a busy month preparing for what turned out to be an incredibly eventful four weeks! The team celebrates the major win of launching FUNGUO's highly anticipated Launch of the Second Call for Funding on the 30th of May.  

In addition to this, one amongst our other key priorities had been to conduct comprehensive partnership mapping. Recognizing the importance of strategic collaborations, we dedicated significant time and effort to identify and establish potential partnerships that could greatly contribute to our resource mobilization goals. Through research, analysis, and networking, we meticulously identified organizations, institutions, and stakeholders that shared our vision and had the capacity to contribute meaningfully to our objectives. We now plan to seek out synergies and mutually beneficial opportunities that will not only enhance our capabilities but also foster long-term relationships for sustained impact. 

In the following weeks, we also dedicated ourselves to other strategic undertakings. We conducted regular meetings, exchanged ideas, and refined our approach to maximize our programme’s success. As the month drew to a close, we looked back with satisfaction on the progress made in achieving our work plan and objectives, We look forward to seeing you again in our next newsletter!


Ecosystem News and Developments

Funding Opportunities for Startups

FUNGUO Innovation Programme is looking to provide catalytic funding to Tanzanian impact-driven startups and innovative SMEs, supporting their scalability and attracting external financing. This funding opportunity also emphasizes the promotion and support of women-led and women-founded businesses, advancing gender equality and empowerment, and therefore, at least 30% of the funds available for this round will be exclusively reserved for women-founded or women- led startup companies! Apply now at Deadline: 30th June 2023. 

  • The Daraja Impact Fund is supporting impact-driven MSMEs in Tanzania! Is that you? 

The Daraja Impact Fund is looking to support Tanzanian enterprises by providing investment capital and technical assistance, aiming to foster growth, resilience, and financial stability. This, in turn, promotes economic inclusion and empowers underprivileged communities. The programme will be focused on empowering women and youth economically by providing them with capital and support to develop their businesses.  

Applications are now open for the UNICEF Venture Fund 2023 for Frontier Tech Solutions. The UNICEF Venture Fund is looking to make up to US$100k in equity-free investments to provide early stage (seed) funding to for-profit startups developing frontier technology solutions that can be positively impact lives of the world’s most vulnerable children and youth. Apply now on UNICEF Call for Frontier Technology Startups ( Deadline: 28th July 2023. 

Look out for these Upcoming Ecosystem Events!

  • Westerwelle (WSH) Corporate Networking Event 

As part of the Westerwelle Entrepreneurship Programme, Westerwelle Startup Haus Arusha will be hosting its Corporate Outreach event that will bring together entrepreneurs, corporates, and other key players of our entrepreneurship ecosystem. So! Make sure you’re at the Mega Complex Building on the 9th of June at 4pm! 

  • PesaTech Demo Day 

PesaTech Accelerator is a fintech wonderland supported by UNCDF and implemented in collaboration with Sahara Ventures, Enea Advisors, iPF Software, and Hindsight Ventures. It was made for post-MVP and growth-stage fintech startups in Tanzania! This exciting program is tailor-made to give these startups the boost they need to skyrocket to success. Picture a vibrant ecosystem buzzing with innovation and opportunity! That means, don’t miss the demo day on the 9th of June, that will be showcasing 12 exceptional startups from PesaTech.  

  • 8th Science, Technology and Innovation Conference and Exhibitions (STICE) 

Step into the world of cutting-edge discoveries at the much anticipated Science, Technology, and Innovation Conference and Exhibitions (STICE). Scheduled for June 14th - 16, the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH) looks to bring together visionaries from various sectors. Now in its 8th year, STICE is more than just a gathering—it's a dynamic platform where science and society converge, offering an audience with brilliant scientists, researchers, influential policymakers, innovators, funders, development partners, and industry players. 

  • Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) Day

Every year, Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) Day is celebrated to honor their role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account forup to 90% of businesses, 60% to 70% of employment, and they account for half ofglobal GDP, according to the United Nations (UN). Stay tuned for news and events happening to commemorate this day!

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 British High Commission (BHC). 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.