Entrepreneurship workshop in Tanzania attracts scientists from across east Africa

30 September 2015

Scientists and engineers from across east Africa took part in an entrepreneurship workshop on 21-25 September in Tanzania – the first that the IOP has helped to organise in the country.

Entrepreneurship workshop in Tanzania

The workshop was held at the Nelson Mandela African Institution of Science and Technology (NM-AIST) in Arusha, which jointly organised the event with the IOP. A mix of seasoned speakers from the UK, US and Switzerland who have spoken at previous workshops, and local experts from Tanzania, gave the talks, with topics including the basics of intellectual property and patenting, business planning, and the transition from an invention to a product.

There were also opportunities to take part in a group project that involved coming up with ideas for commercialising an innovation and planning each stage up to pitching the proposal. The 30 people taking part, from Tanzania and four other east African countries, discussed proposals including using biomass to produce gas, using rather than exporting recycled plastic and setting up a company to help farmers to get their crops to markets within Tanzania while minimising losses from spoiled goods.

During the workshop, conversations took place between IOP staff and representatives from NM-AIST, the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Tanzania and the University of Dar es Salaam on the need for the IOP to help provide tailored entrepreneurial training in Tanzania to STEM undergraduates, master’s and PhD students.

The IOP’s international relations manager, Dipali Bhatt-Chauhan, said those taking part in the workshop were really excited about the value of education to Tanzania. More people wanted to be job creators and not just employees, she said. “In Tanzania they have issues to face but all of these issues have opportunities attached to them, which they recognise. The government there wants to help the new generation of scientists and to develop a critical mass of people with the same attitude towards entrepreneurship,” she said.