As we all know in the world of today we cannot neglect the fact that digital and information technology have become one of the most accessible tools for businesses, this has made digital entrepreneurship to be seen as a relatively available venture by most people, especially young people. Remember that young people, by virtue of being young, possess less resources and experience, but are usually extremely well versed in digital and information technology, digital entrepreneurship is the perfect platform for them to create and take advantage of existing entrepreneurial opportunities.
In 2021 we collaborated with The Embassy of The Kingdom of Netherlands to implement the DigiMali (Digitali na Mjasiriamali) project, the project that was aiming at improving digital skills for 1200 youth entrepreneurs for self employment. However, despite impacting more than 1293 businesses with 873 young women entrepreneurs, we identified other challenges influenced by the recent digital technology changes that have had negative implications in many youth and young women-led businesses due to lack of suitable knowledge and skills to spearhead smooth transition from traditional to digital business operations. Besides that, the other problem of lack of knowledge and skills pertaining to business finance management among young entrepreneurs continues to remain a challenge. Over 15% of the youth in Tanzania lack knowledge and skills in managing business finances, particularly, incomes and expenditures, capital and credit. This directly minimizes their capacity to scale into MSMEs and sustain in the growing digital ecosystem.
Acknowledging these challenges in 2022 we introduced the phase two of DigiMali (Digitali na Mjasiriamali) project with the main purpose of enhancing adaptation of digital business operations among youth entrepreneurs to drive self-employment opportunities and maximize the target group’s eligibility for scaling up by improving their overall access to finance and expanding market reach. The project’s approach was through virtual training, physical and online mentorship sessions. The selected youth entrepreneurs were trained on Digital marketing and digital financial literacy, For this part, the beneficiaries started to adapt how to achieve a meaningful digital transition that will help their businesses to have impacts on this increasingly digitized economy.
The project has now directly reached 100 young people and about a total of 1200 youth will be reached in the period of one year through Training of Trainers (ToT’s) meaning that those who have been directly impacted by the project would use the knowledge gained to impact other 1200 youth businesses, hence ripple the effect.
During mentorship sessions beneficiaries had the chance to meet their mentors one on one whether physical or online, and these sessions have helped them to identify challenges that they were first not aware of. The mentors used this session to help the beneficiaries on the most basic things like how to market your business online, starting on how to create a business page and how to remain visible online by making attractive and formal contents, and also other basic skills like brand colors, logo name, contents, security and customer care tools.
The mentorship sessions have not only helped the youth entrepreneurs, but also us mentors, through these sessions we managed to identify the heterogeneous nature of these entrepreneurs and the problems that are real bottlenecks for youth businesses and that cannot be traced during training sessions. We used these sessions to make sure they learn all basic information and tools for business transition practically.
(Digital Marketing Trainer)
“Through DigiMali i have managed to transform my business to a better suit, i can now manage my finances properly and advertise my business (sponsoring and creative contents) in a way that can give me more clients”
Amina (DigiMali beneficiary)
Through DigiMali we have identified that today’s youth are not only in need of skills in hyper-demand areas, they also need an agile and adaptable mindset in the Digital Economy. The world is changing constantly, and learning how to deal with a changing marketplace by innovating with new technology is a good way to understand how to be an entrepreneur. Youth will be working in a global startup culture, and gaining early experience in how to adjust, adapt, and “move with the tide” will ensure that they are adequately prepared for the economy of tomorrow. If not for themselves, then they must adapt for the world, whose challenges are only getting more complex and estranged. We believe that “young people are not just the future; they will build the path we all walk down”