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Future STEM Business Leaders programme

The Future STEM Business Leaders programme in Tanzania has one aim; to support students to apply their scientific training to solve local problems, through the creation of science-based business.

This programme is managed by the Dar Teknohama Business Incubator, through in-kind support from the IOP, and is primarily driven by local partnerships.

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About the programme

It is estimated that by 2030 the labour force in Tanzania will reach 50 million. This will increase the demand for skilled jobs and put pressure on the government to address rising unemployment rates.

A solution to this issue is entrepreneurship and the creation of business. We believe this will empower future generations to create their own opportunities, be self-sufficient and earn a living. Coupled with this is a steer from the Tanzanian government to support technology and science education.

The Future STEM Business Leaders programme works alongside this steer to support secondary school students to apply their scientific training, develop their business knowledge and acquire broad range of skills that will enhance their future career prospects.

The programme begins in the second to last year of secondary school with an open call for ideas. Students who are studying science, no matter the combination, can pitch a science-based solution to a local problem within their community. From the open call, we select ten students from each school to attend the programme. Local experts in science and business then support the students to develop the skills they need to turn an idea into a potential business.

Secondary school students in Tanzania learn to apply their knowledge in science to local problems as part of the Future STEM Business Leaders programme.


Students on the programme learn how to apply their education in science to real situations. They also develop skills such as communication and presentation skills, problem solving, writing proposals and business plans and research skills.

The programme supports students to develop their thinking and skill set, and demonstrates how their education can be applied to their lives and futures.


Teachers receive a series of CPD sessions to support their career development and develop alternative teaching methods. We work with schools to create interactive lessons that can run within the challenging environment teacher’s face. The teachers involved also provide invaluable support to their students throughout the programme.

Teachers in Tanzania benefit in CPD sessions as part of the Future STEM Business Leaders programme

Business Mentors

The mentors on the programme are all business owners in Tanzania. Their role is to work with schools, share their business knowledge and support students to apply their learning from the programme to their solutions to local problems.

A business mentor shares her knowledge with high school students in Tanzania


Local partners are crucial in the development and running of the programme. Their knowledge and passion to raise awareness of the connection between science and business is key to our success.

Current partners include:

  • the physics department at the University of Dar es Salaam
  • the Dar Teknohama Business Incubator
  • NanoFilter
  • Opulent Design Studios
  • Tanzania Young Leaders–Empowering Vijana
  • several secondary schools
A business partner presents to students in Tanzanian classroom

What others say about the programme

“The government of Tanzania is encouraging industrialisation across the country, yet increasing numbers of students find themselves unemployed after university. This makes business skills important, now more than ever, as graduates could create their own jobs. The IOP has been a great support in achieving this. The Future STEM Business Leaders programme is fantastic. "
Dr Najat Mohammed, Head of Physics at the University of Dar es Salaam

“The first time I was approached to take part in the Future STEM Business Leaders programme as a business mentor, I was so excited; however, I could not comprehend how physics could connect to business – until the IOP changed my mind. This programme inspires the next generation and is an awesome contribution to our society. Being a part of the IOP’s vision of physics has been, and continues to be, a very interesting journey! "
Ms Sayuni Bupe, Business Mentor and founder of Opulent Design Studios

“As a result of this programme, I will be able to engage myself in innovation to improve our technology, and I will spread the impact of this IOP programme to many other people so that it can help change the education system in Tanzania."

“As a business mentor, I support students through their learning process, and I was humbled to witness their growth throughout the programme. It is a fantastic opportunity for students to learn new skills but also prepare them, and our country, for the future."
Dr Askwar Hilonga, Mentor and founder of NanoFilter

High school students in Tanzania doing a physics activity