How the Start-Up Academy has impacted my Entrepreneurial Journey: David Hariohay

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My name is David Denis Hariohay, 23 years old, an AiduTalent from Tanzania. I am a student at the Ardhi University in Dar es Salaam Tanzania studying Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Management.

In December 2019, I attended the First Rotary Entrepreneurship Academy organized by Aiducation International in collaboration with Rotary Club Zürich-Limmattal at the School of St. Jude, Tanzania. It was my first time to attend such a workshop and I remember signing up as “not having a business but wanting to”


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Participant at the Swiss Re Start-Up Academy in Tanzania – December 2019

 

The Academy was a right moment for me to understand how to commercialize my project on human waste hair recycling. It was the first time to know what a pitch is and how to properly do it, know what a business plan is and how to properly write it, understand technical financial aspects of a business, marketing, sales and partnership. Considering all those are the building blocks of a business, I was able to, for the first time, think of starting a business. It was even far away from just starting a business, building an entrepreneurial spirit was an amazing achievement. With passion in serving my community, I found a right channel and that was through becoming an entrepreneur by proactively pointing out problems facing our communities then developing solutions. This was a major transformation in my life and it marked a stepping-stone and the inspiration to becoming an entrepreneur.

 

An important part of the Academy to me was the 1:1 Session with our mentors. I was so attracted to book a session with each of them as they showed so much understanding, experience and passion in helping young entrepreneurs. At last I got a single selection to have one with Dr. Andrea Degen. I noted in the first few minutes of my talk with Dr. Andrea that she is so humble, down to earth and caring.
Through the conversation she told me how believing in my own abilities and hard work will make me a successful person on a personal level and in the business. I opened up to her about my human hair recycling project I had been working on while in high school at the School of St. Jude. She was really amazed and saw so much potential in commercializing the idea.

A month later, I started the initiative by teaming up with 4 other fellow students who we were taking our gap year by then and started CutOff Recycle. We started going through the important steps as learnt from the Academy. We fairly did our business plan and wrote a proposal, I can laugh at today! We then got 800CHF support in August 2020 and we made our first sales of fertilizers made from human waste hair. We grew capacity and employed the 4 volunteers and other waste collectors full time and part time.

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Our proposal for other prizes became successful, got financial support and managed to get business mentorship. We now sell our hair fertilizers to 8 farmers in Arusha, Tanzania.  From in-country to global awareness of human waste hair recycling and production of fertilizers at CutOff Recycle, many doors opened for partnerships, research and development, business expansion opportunities from individuals to institutions, and financial support of up to 14, 300$ to date. All this has been an effort in building a strong team and business building blocks; the art of selling, customer care, marketing, financials and partnerships which I first learnt at the Start-Up Academy.

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At the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (GSEA)

 

With this I want someone to be inspired that you can always start from a mere idea and passion to become a successful entrepreneur. It’s all about getting the right skills first and this is why I strongly recommend everyone who is interested to serve the community as an entrepreneur or a business person attending the Aiducation Start-Up Academy.

I appreciate all the efforts made by the Rotary Club Zürich-Limmattal, Aiducation International and the School of St. Jude for being the reason of my success as an entrepreneur. I therefore, really recommend the continuation of the academy here in Tanzania as there are still so much untapped potentials for entrepreneurship which will be very helpful for our community. The Academy is a full packed training and all an aspiration  that young entrepreneurs need.

 

by David Denis Hariohay - AiduTalent, Tanzania

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