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BOOTCAMP: Ifakara hub empowers 11 rural startups

Sept. 18, 2023 10:00
BOOTCAMP: Ifakara hub empowers 11 rural startups
Participants of the Rural Livelihood Innovation Bootcamp attend a mentorship session at Ifakara Innovation Hub offices in Ifakara. PHOTO | COURTSEY of Ifakara Innovation Hub

The Ifakara Innovation Hub (IIH) organized a five-day Rural Livelihood Innovation Bootcamp held in Ifakara Town, Morogoro Region, designed for innovation startups that offer cutting-edge solutions to issues faced by rural communities. The program benefited 11 startups. 

The Bootcamp, which is a component of the Ifakara Innovation Hub's incubation program, strives to support innovators realize their ideas by providing them with capacity-building training, mentorship, and funds to develop their ideas into sustainable projects that benefit rural communities.

Held from September 18 to 22, 2023 at the Hub’s offices in Ifakara, the Bootcamp included transformative training in the field of innovation. The Hub also organized a Demo Day whereby the startups pitched to a jury and the five most promising startups were selected and enrolled in the IIH 2023/2024 incubation program.

Human-centred design 
Highlighting the importance of the Boot Camo, the Ifakara Innovation Hub’s Community Engagement Officer, Rachel Magodi said, “The boot camp will be taking startups through Human Centred Design and design thinking to consider while developing their solutions. 

“From this boot camp, we expect the startups will be able to use the knowledge, insights, and skills gained throughout the training to incorporate their solutions and pitch (convince) before the jury to be selected for the IIH third cohort Incubation program.”

Earlier this year in June, the Ifakara Innovation Hub announced an open call for applications for its incubation program, inviting applicants with ground-breaking solutions related to agriculture, climate, and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Over 130 applications were submitted of which only 11 deserving individuals were chosen to take part in the Rural Livelihood Innovation Bootcamp.

The 11 startups in a nutshell
The shortlisted 11 startups from different parts of Tanzania include Mchongoo App – A freelancing web/mobile application that connects freelancers with people or businesses looking to hire; WoTe Stove – a stove that uses refined and recycled automotive oil; and Afya ya Mnyama Wangu – a digital application that tracks and records animals to provide all necessary information and assistance for animal health care to farmers.

Others are: Yakwetu biotech – Produces bio-organic fertilizer; Agri smart – builds a solar-powered agricultural robot that is deployed for agricultural purposes, especially harvesting; Jembe Link - farm management platform; and Freshbox – fruit and vegetable storing containers that ensure long shelf life without refrigeration for horticultural farmers.

The beneficiary startups also include: Automated solar Tracking System - Solar tracking systems which can track the Sun movement increasing the power generation rate; Vatten Smart Irrigation; Leo Leo App – A platform that provides information about the market for farmers; and Fundi Kiganjani – A repairman application that provides handyman service and for them to find quick jobs.