Paulo - A Tanzanian Social Entrepreneur, Co- founder of Fundi App

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Paulo

Bridging the gap between skilled handymen in the informal sector and customers

Paulo has made it his objective to live a full, meaningful life that will help elevate youth livelihoods, especially in his community.  It is with this drive that he continues forging an impactful career in building thriving communities in Tanzania and Sub-saharan Africa. 

Before joining DOT’s network of social entrepreneurs, Paulo worked in renewable energy with a leading solar power distributor in East & West Africa. As Head of Service he led different customer experience initiatives that led to solar electrification of over a million homes in Africa. 

While employed, Paulo was also contemplating a path in social entrepreneurship; one that would help address unemployment and underemployment for youth in the informal sector.  To successfully bring their ideas to life, Paulo and his co-founder needed access to incubation.

Paulo heard about the Dare to Change Tanzania program through a friend who had taken part in the program in  2018. He applied and participated in the program with his co-founder Godfrey. Dare to Change supported Paulo and Godfrey to incubate the Fundi App  

Fundi App bridges the gap between skilled handymen in the informal sector and customers in the middle-class and enterprise markets. It uses mobile and web applications to connect skilled handymen to the nearest gigs and projects in their area. To ensure affordable prices and transparency for customers, Fundi App applies fixed rates for the services listed on its platforms.

Paulo and Godfrey with their Fundi App Team
Paulo and Godfrey with their Fundi App Team

“My team and I needed access to resources, mentorship, and additional funding that DOT would potentially offer through the program. It was also the only program in town that truly focused on ideation and early-stage companies, so it was a no-brainer applying to it”

One of the biggest highlights for Paulo during the Dare to Change Tanzania 2019 program, was the ecosystem tour that DOT facilitated where the youth visited an array of hubs and accelerators across Dar es Salaam. He says it painted a clear picture of everyone’s role and what was the most logical next step for Fundi App after completing the program. 

“My thoughts were solidified on the day of the Dare to Change Tanzania Social Innovators Conference. Just before we pitched Diana Ninsiima, DOT Tanzania Country Director said to other ecosystem members during her keynote address, “It takes the village to raise a child” meaning that every stakeholder needs to play a part going forward in ensuring the success of the startups that participated in the program that year” 

Paulo and Paulo and Godfrey after winners of Dare to Change Tanzania 2019
Paulo and Godfrey after winners of Dare to Change Tanzania 2019

Fundi App won first place in Dare to Change Tanzania 2019. They received Tsh. 6,700,000/- seed funding and were placed under a coaching program for 6 months before transitioning to other incubation and acceleration programs. 

DOT’s programs apply a gender lens approach by design. As a young man, Paulo believes we should always be about equity, not equality. He believes it’s not enough to encourage young women to be a part of such programs, but rather critical that deliberate efforts are made to ensure young women are never left behind, always playing catch up. 

As a DOT Alumni,  Paulo took part in co-designing sessions with DOT Tanzania to ensure Dare to Change Tanzania continues to serve youth better. He brought in not only his tips for program improvements but also his experience from other international programs. 

“It was a manifestation of how DOT recognizes how the collective experience of the participants plays a huge part in the overall program’s success. I enjoyed the open-mindedness of the leaders at DOT and how receptive they were to the tips I brought from some of the other international programs that I had attended since the Dare to Change days” 

Currently, Fundi App has a workforce of over 1,000 differently skilled handymen all across Dar es Salaam and has launched its software products on the web(www.fundiapp.com) and Apps. The social enterprise has also raised substantial funding from multiple sources including the African Development Bank Group and managed to form partnerships with VETA, companies in solar, construction, and other service-related industries.

Fundi App has won several awards including the Von Seidels Brand Protection Prize at the SA Innovation Summit 2020, it has been named the AfricaVsVirus champions 2020 by AfDB and BoostUp winners 2021. Other achievements include being part of world-class class fellowships and accelerators such as the Yunus&Youth Global Fellowship 2020 and the Village Capital Future of Work Africa Accelerator 2021.

The next big step for Fundi App is expanding its solution to new markets in Eastern Africa. They are looking for strategic partners and hands-on investors to grow with. 

To all young social entrepreneurs, It’s not going to be easy but in the end, it will be worth it. Discipline and consistency are key

Paulo’s Social

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