Launched to the public March 1 by Hon Dr. Mary Nagu Minister of State Prime Minister’s Office Investment and Empowerment and MP, Mara Foundation will fund and incubate tech startups in the country and help them take on the market.
On its Tanzania launch the foundation also showcased its mentorship arm Mara Mentor One-on-One, which has already connected 13 successful businessmen and businesswomen to mentor young entrepreneurs for six months in the country with a new cycle planned for September 2013.
Hon Nagu said there was need to up entrepreneurship through giving support to small enterprises to grow and singling out the importance of nurturing by the private sector.
Already established in Uganda and active in Kenya, Mara Foundation will also give the Tanzania entrepreneurs Venture Capital funds, a scheme most young entrepreneurs are unaware and underexposed to. Mara Foundation said it will invest in innovative and high growth enterprises to grow the private sector.
Though with excellent and honest developers, Tanzania is way behind South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya on tech and business incubation. The foundation therefore seeks to encourage the youth to come out in numbers to start companies and pursue their dreams in technology. Mara Foundation promises to connect them to needed resources and networks.
Founded by Ashish J. Thakkar in 2009, Mara Foundation, is a not for-profit social enterprise for emerging African entrepreneurs with a focus on East Africa.
The foundation runs the Entrepreneur Launchpad, a business mentorship programme in Uganda and Kenya by pairing emerging entrepreneurs with top business leaders for six months for mentorship, the Mara Launchpad, an incubation space and the Mara Launch Uganda Fund, a venture capital fund to start-ups and growth-stage companies in Uganda. On its social entrepreneurship side, Mara Foundation runs Next Generation Schools, a charity to improve education quality in disadvantaged secondary schools in Uganda.
The parent organisation is Mara Group.