TechnoServe and University of Dar es Salaam Launch 2008 Believe Begin Become Business Plan Competition for Tanzanian Entrepreneurs to support competition designed to help small and medium businesses thrive and expand to create jobs, revenue and wea

SEPTEMBER 12, 2008 —Dar es Salaam, Tanzania—Today, TechnoServe, in partnership with the University of Dar es Salaam’s Entrepreneurship Center (UDEC), and Business in Development Foundation Network (BiDNF) are pleased to announce the launch of the 2008 Believe Begin Become, Tanzania’s national business plan competition.

Now in its second year, the competition, with core funding from, engages Tanzania’s high-potential entrepreneurs to grow sustainable businesses that increase employment, incomes and ultimately, wealth. This year, the business plan competition will provide more than $530,000 (Tsh. 620 million) in seed capital and business support services awards. Additional prize awards from local partners in Tanzania will also be committed by Tanzanian partners. To date, Barclays Bank Plc, Tanzania Gatsby Trust, Azania Bank Limited, Tanzania Investment Center, Tanga Cement and Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange have already made commitments to supporting the 2008 Believe Begin Become competition.

Believe Begin Become promotes the growth and evolution of self-sustaining businesses by identifying Tanzanian entrepreneurs that have a strong desire to grow their businesses. The program begins by facilitating skill-building through training, mentoring and technical assistance. Qualifying entrepreneurs receive intensive business training, personal coaching and one-on-one consulting with industry experts to further refine business plans and create finance-ready businesses.

Last year, TechnoServe and UDEC launched business plan competitions targeting entrepreneurs with high-potential business ideas. Both competitions received more than 1,000 applications from all regions of Tanzania. Through the use of private-sector judges, mentors and consultants, these applications and concepts were screened, evaluated and graded to select the most promising enterprises. With judges’ feedback gained from business plan reviews, revisions and re-submissions, a combined total of 30 finalists— with businesses ranging from carbon emission trading to dairy processing to the production of honey wine— were selected as top winners in the competitions. A total of $380,000 in seed capital and business development vouchers was awarded to the finalists.

“The Believe Begin Become competition helped identify and refine my business potential,” said Selemani Kinyunyu, founder, Offset East Africa and a 2007 business plan competition winner and finalist. “The training was invaluable and provided the tools, networks and the ongoing support that entrepreneurs need to be successful. Ultimately, Believe Begin Become helped me and the other program participants shape our businesses for growth and ongoing success.”

Building on the success and lessons learned from last year’s competitions, TechnoServe and UDEC developed a joint partnership to implement a single business plan competition in 2008 under the Believe Begin Become brand. The 2008 Believe Begin Become business plan competition will provide both online (through BiDNF’s platform) and offline application (through direct mail to TechnoServe) options and will see many more Tanzanian entrepreneurs benefit with the skills, knowledge and resources to help them grow thriving businesses.

“This year, our objective is to further populate the pipeline with high performing entrepreneurs,” said Atiba Amalile, Believe Begin Become Program Manager. “We encourage high-potential entrepreneurs to apply to the competition in order to help grow their businesses. Through Believe Begin Become, we will provide finalists access to the support and tools necessary to turn their businesses into self-sustaining, community-enhancing and profitable enterprises.”

The success of Believe Begin Become will foster exponential growth of the small to medium business ecosystem in Tanzania and create a rich web of private sector business providers to facilitate ongoing business development services. Finalists also have the opportunity to continue acquiring business knowledge through seminars, conferences and alumni events even after the competitions comes to a close.

“Believe Begin Become is unique in that we directly enable the development of a number of skilled entrepreneurs and link finance-ready businesses with financiers to realize expansion and growth plans,” said TechnoServe Tanzania Country Director Hillary Miller-Wise. “This year’s competition will continue to identify, develop and grow Tanzanian-owned businesses and connect them with a broader network of financial institutions, government institutions, international donors and civil society institutions. Through this network, it is hoped that the competition will build momentum and a renewed energy for business development in Tanzania and spur governments to build enabling environments focused on the needs of emerging entrepreneurs.”

TechnoServe and UDEC will accept applications for the 2008 Believe Begin Become national business plan competition from September 10th to October 17th. Entrepreneurs from all regions in Tanzania are encouraged to apply! Additional information and an application guide can be found at

About TechnoServe: TechnoServe is leading a movement that empowers people in the developing world to build businesses that break the cycle of poverty. Growing enterprises generate jobs and other income opportunities for poor people, enabling them to improve their lives and secure a better future for their families. Since its founding in 1968, the U.S.-based nonprofit has helped to create or expand thousands of businesses, benefiting millions of people in more than 30 countries. The Financial Times has rated TechnoServe one of the top five NGOs for corporate partnerships. Charity Navigator has also awarded its highest Four Star ranking to TechnoServe.