Westerwelle Foundation, Obuntu Hub partner to build startup hub in Arusha

TANZANIA – Westerwelle Foundation and Obuntu Hub are partnering up to build the largest startup hub in Arusha, Tanzania, with the ambitious goal of uplifting Tanzanian entrepreneurship and the economy as a whole.

The new hub will open in Q2 2022 and offer co-working spaces, events, more support programmes, and access to service providers.

The driving partners of the initiative, Westerwelle Foundation and Obuntu Hub, believe that supporting young entrepreneurs has the potential to create a ripple effect of positive impact in the economy through job creation and provision of services.

“We have seen the positive impact of entrepreneurship not only in economies in Africa but around the world. We want to support realizing this potential in Tanzania,” said Westerwelle Foundation managing director Oliver Reisner.

Obuntu Hub is the local partner leading the building of the new Westerwelle Startup Haus Arusha. Looking at the activities of the Obuntu Hub gives a good idea of the culture of entrepreneurship in Arusha. Keywords that come to mind: collaborative, young, and value-driven.

Led by the development of Silicon Dar in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s startup ecosystem has seen strong growth in recent years.

The country’s innovation ecosystem is now ranked 5th in Sub-Saharan Africa by the Global Innovation Index (2021), the GDP has seen a strong average yearly growth rate of 6.5% during the past 10 years (World Bank, 2021), and the number of startup hubs has increased from 2 in the early 2010s to more than 40 in 2021.

“We believe strongly in partnerships true to the concept of obuntu, which we define to mean collective progress,” Collins Kimaro, one of the people striving for collaboration, said.

“We are grateful to our funding partners (United States African Development Foundation, Tanzania’s Commission of Science and Technology, USAID and UKAID), our brilliant technical partners and our amazing community – let’s grow together.”

Westerwelle Foundation is a German non-profit organization with a mission to support empowered entrepreneurship in emerging

markets. In addition to building up a new hub in Arusha, the Westerwelle Foundation has hubs in Kigali and Tunis, as well as an online programme welcoming entrepreneurs from Asia, Latin America and Africa.

The foundation was set up by well-respected politician, former German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Guido Westerwelle and successful German entrepreneur Ralph Dommermuth. Westerwelle often talked about Africa being “the continent of chances”.

Since 2013 the foundation has grown to support hundreds of founders in emerging markets every year.

With the opening of Westerwelle Startup Haus Arusha, the foundation will have a stronger Pan African network of support.

“We connect our local members to an international community that offers chances for networking, partnerships, peer learning, and expansion to new markets,” explains Oliver Reisner.

An additional opportunity for international networking is the Westerwelle Young Founders Programme that selects 25 startups that are ready for funding and international expansion and offers them 6-months of targeted mentorship and trainings, as well as the chance for top 10 performers to attend a fully-funded conference in Berlin, Germany.

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