Tanzania: TPSF Trains Entrepreneurs

Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) has embarked into a training campaign for small scale entrepreneurs using simple and affordable channels to enrich their businesses.

The campaign which started in March, comprises of teaching and educating using community and national radios and televisions as well as workshops, mobile phones and special created website.

TPSF Executive Director Godfrey Simbeye said despite country wide campaign on radios, TVs and mobile phones, coming September special workshops will be rolled out in four regions to educate entrepreneurs on website surfing.

"The web portal (special created for entrepreneurs) will self-tech entrepreneurs' best business practice as well direct them to various venues to access finance, or grants and how to open and close businesses," Simbeye said. He named the regions, which will participate in the pilot project as Geita, Mbeya, Kigoma and Dodoma which mostly are financially excluded.

The workshops mainly involves teaching entrepreneurs to use the special created internet in browsing various info to better their skills and marketing, financing, grant findings and competing. The pilot phase that begins September, among other things, will educate entrepreneurs how to use the website to access important information.

The phase will end next February. "We are also considering creating some centres where some computers will be available for entrepreneurs to surf the net... "there are local investment project we are working with local governments ... we might use or link their centres for net surfing thus make easier for entrepreneurs to learn more," Mr Simbeye said.

According to Financial Sector Deepening Trust (FSDT), there are 2.7million people owing about 3.2 million micro, small and medium enterprises, but merely 10 per cent of these access formal finance.

However, TPSF, MSMEs Information System--Project Manager, Celestine Mkama said those who failed to access the website they still can get information through mobile phone text messages or radios and televisions.

The best feature of the project is that all questions asked during radio and TVs programmes or during workshops would be uploaded on the website. "This makes easier for stakeholders to follow up. And on top of all it is free of charge," Mr Mkama said.

A Consultant on Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, Mr Haji Dachi estimates there are between 3.0 and 4.0 million entrepreneurs across the country of which the foundation target to reach by various media.

"Most questions, about 45 per cent, we are asked during the radio programme is how to open business. Since March to date the interaction is high...and very encouraging," Mr Dachi, who works for Integrated Management Limited, said.

The information system is designed to be a one stop centre for a wide range of information that small businesses require to thrive.The system comprises of a web portal and mobile application which are designed to enhance financial literacy and entrepreneurship skills among MSMEs as well as improve access to financial services and markets.

According to FSD, the main reason for coming up with this system emanate from a 2009 FinScope research which reveals that 12.6 per cent of entrepreneurs in the country have computers and access to internet, 13 per cent have secondary education, 68.9 per cent have mobile phones, 30 per cent have smart phones and 92.4 per cent listen to radio.

Source: Tanzania Daily News.