Introduction:

Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) in collaboration with Financial Sector Deepening Trust (FSDT) has developed MSMEs Information system accessible at www.entrepreneurs.or.tz  and www.wajasiriamalitz.or.tz and through the USSD accessible on mobile phones  by dialing *148*99*06#. The MSMEs Information system has rich functionality with user friendly features that guarantee quality experience for users. Our portal and USSD application supports content in both Kiswahili and English. The portal was launched in March 10, 2017 by Hon. Charles Mwijage (MP) Minister for Industry Trade and Investment  and  to date, the portal has attracted 28,000 users with an average of 2,000 news visitors each month. Our mobile application has already attracted 2500 users and the list is growing.

Objective:

The main objective of the system is to bring together diverse MSMEs-related groups, entrepreneurs (existing and potential), associations, buyers, sellers, technocrats, Training cells, Business Service providers, Technology developers and Academia to freely and openly exchange information related to MSMEs. Additionally, the portal entails to provide value added information to Tanzania MSMEs (Approximately 2.7 million) and acts as a valuable resource to the desired target user groups (MSMEs, regulators, investors, financial service providers, associations) with the aim of uplifting the human capital in the country via alignment of MSMEs training and skills development needs with available suppliers.

Specifically, the information portal is set to become a single access point of useful, ubiquitous, comprehensive information for MSMEs stakeholders and is expected to improve the formation, operation and expansion of informal and formal MSMEs; lead to increase in access and use of financial services by providing MSMEs a user friendly and easily accessible online platform with:-

  • Up to date data/Information and training in the areas of financial literacy and entrepreneurship
  • A detailed roadmap for business registration and management based on sector needs
  • Information on financial services and products
  • Information on Business Development Services
  • Relevant local and international research findings on MSMEs related topics
  • News and Policy briefs

The portal is expected to impact entrepreneurs and business owners through:-

  1. Creation and provision of an online information centre resourced with relevant content to guide on financial literacy (What and where to access, use financial products and services) and facilitate MSMEs business formation, operation and expansion; which will result to the decrease in the percentage of financial excluded MSMEs.
  2. Specialized technical resource centre to support micro and small business formation and development (how to access, use financial products and services to finance their growth).
    • Portal to have a contact window that will be able to provide direct services to entrepreneurs and the private sector in general to ask questions and get immediate answers on key relevant issues.
    • Strengthen the capacity to promote financial literacy and entrepreneurship within the Tanzania and beyond and disseminate its MSMEs studies using a cost effective approach with greater outreach.
    • Shared information through online forums, webinars, will provide valuable insight for financial and local universities/academic institutions to conduct further researches that will inform policy makers’ status of MSMEs and possible solutions.
  3. Awareness Building and Training
    • Continued awareness of the need for entrepreneurial spirit to improve the competitiveness of the country and knowledge of where to access the information needed
    • The information portal will be positioned as a provider of financial training and information centre on entrepreneurship and MSME development.

Activities:

Demand Driven Radio Programs
The program dubbed Bwana Pesa is an interactive program that aired 26 episodes in 2016. Bwana Pesa aired every Saturday from 9:10 am on Power Breakfast on Clouds FM. The Program was hosted by a radio presenter and our carefully selected Business Development Service Providers (BDSP) specialists in the field of business. Season one of Bwana Pesa climax was the interaction of Bwana Pesa with entrepreneurs and business owners from different markets during field visits in Dar es salaam. Due to popular demand and success of season one, Bwana Pesa is expected to return for a second season in 2017 with richer and more informative content for listeners.
Quarterly Workshops
MSME capacity building workshops are also ongoing, complimenting efforts to reach more MSMEs and reduce knowledge gaps and increase access to information. To date, two successful workshops have been conducted under the project; Geita workshop and Kigoma workshop. Upcoming workshops include Mbeya and Dodoma scheduled for 2017. All workshops are conducted with our BDSP partners from the respective areas in collaboration with various stakeholders including Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and Microfinance Financial Institutions among others, who are invited to engage with invited MSMEs at the training workshop.