Make History with George Mulamula
George Mulamula is founder and CEO of the only tech incubator in Tanzania, Dar Teknohama Business Incubator (DTBi). He is also a Senior Government Advisor on ICT entrepreneurship. George is a strong believer in the power of tech entrepreneurship to solve community challenges and provide meaningful opportunities for African young people, who are three times as likely as older adults to face unemployment. Here, he shares his vision for an African tech-ecosystem.
LVC: What is it about Tanzania that makes it the ideal place for business in technology?
George: Tanzania has policies that promote technology usage and empower of technology businesses, while growing sectors like broadband, transport and communication are enhancing infrastructure. In the case of Lake Victoria, there are many untapped resources and opportunities, including enormous untapped tourism and business sector applications and services. People often talk about bringing Silicon Valley to our part of the world, but this is difficult to do as Silicon Valley has a totally different ecosystem to ours. Instead, we need to use our minds, innovate and develop sustainable solutions within our own ecosystem. We must build skills and transfer knowledge to allow our youth and those with ideas and innovation to solve our community and business challenges and achieve great things
LVC: What contributions do you see the Lake Victoria Challenge making to the Tanzanian tech ecosystem?
George: Drones are just the start. They are a tool that will not only give us better efficiencies and better deliveries, but they will also catalyze the transformation of our mindset, encourage innovation and bring about value addition. This is where the droneport comes in.
If you need to recharge a drone or a spare part is broken, how do you fix it? A possible solution is the fabrication lab, situated at droneports, which could 3D print spare parts for drones, or even 3D print spare parts for hospital and agricultural machines.
Ordinarily, these parts take three months to arrive from Europe or America. With a fabrication lab, small parts could be ready in 2-3 days and can then be delivered by drone to a hospital. We need to get people’s mindsets attuned to the idea that we can solve these challenges in Tanzania and by Tanzanians.
LVC: How do you nurture small businesses and careers in tech?
George: It is important to nurture small businesses and careers in tech, as doing so will help Tanzania in her path to becoming a middle income industrialized country. Furthermore, this will create income and wealth for the young entrepreneurs. Among the many things we do, we provide business development services to innovators and entrepreneurs at large, be it women or men, boys or girls, including the marginalized. We also go to the “source” by giving talks at learning institutions, like schools and universities. The most important question we ask the students is: how can you be job creators rather than job seekers? We also tell the lecturers that when they do assignments they should be tied to the real-life challenges we face in the country, not only in cities but also in the rural areas. What challenges do our farmers have? What new challenges do our fishermen have? Our little business communities, and small and medium enterprises– what challenges do they face? Let’s give the students projects that can help solve those challenges. At the DTBi, we offer mentoring, coaching and advice so the students can create sustainable and scalable innovations. Doing so, catalyze the solving of real-world socio-economic problems through innovations.