Suku Enterprise, Recyclers, and Lily Pads emerged top three contestants of the Digital Entrepreneurship Competition recently organised by the University of Dar es Salaam Entrepreneurship Centre and Digital Opportunity Trust. Kuchengo Suleiman’s innovative nutritional health solution that handles diabetes and high blood pressure, impressed the judges earning him the prize money of USD 3k while the second and third contestants walked away with USD 2 K and USD 1 K respectively. The winners were picked from a list of 40 participants who underwent six weeks of online training.
Since its inception in 2013, Digital Opportunity Trust as it refers in its website works with youth, the private sector, governments, and community-based organizations towards a collaborative vision of communities shaped by daring social innovators. As Tanzania’s oldest public university, University of Dar es Salaam proved to be a natural and willing host for the forum.
According to Eliguard Dawson who is the DOT country director “The 40 young graduates with social innovation ideas came from different universities across the country and were trained on how to start a business that can support people in the community with practical solutions.” Kuchengo Suleiman’s Suku Tea innovation stood out since its blend of lemongrass and ginger farmed by widows and single mothers in Morogoro, reduces the adverse effects of caffeine contained in black tea which most Tanzanians are fond of drinking. In addition to the prize money, Suleiman will travel to Nairobi to connect with other, other DOT innovators from 13 countries across the world next month.
Faraji Bofu and Juma Matata of Mabo Recyclers presented a waste paper recycling technology that is used to produce low-cost exercise books and less carbon paper charcoal. Betty Sonda of Lilly Pads who came in third produces sanitary pads that are eco-friendly and are affordable to low-income earners. Tanzania like other Sub Saharan African countries faces the challenge of youth unemployment, and it is these social initiatives conceived by young people that have the potential of turning this challenge on its head.