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Encouraging grassroots growth in Tanzania

Tanzania's economy is growing - but the average person here is yet to feel any benefit from recent foreign investment in sectors like agriculture, and oil and gas. Entrepreneurs and small businesses can drive employment and higher standards of living, but they face major barriers including lack of access to finance, technology and markets.

Volunteer Sandy Hung is volunteering in Tanzania supporting local businesses Mwanzo Millinga

VSO volunteer Sandy Hung is advising small businesses run by women like Augusta Mayemba Mtema, who struggle to access credit and markets.

We're working with Tanzanian government institutions, entrepreneurs and the wider private sector in order to create a more supportive environment in which small businesses can grow and thrive. We're paying special attention to the additional cultural and social barriers faced by women in establishing and growing businesses.

This Tanzania Local Enterprise Development (T-LED) project focuses on local entrepreneurs who head small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in order to:

  • Improve their knowledge of market opportunities and financing available
  • Support women’s ability to develop their businesses
  • Strengthen Tanzanian institutions to offer better, market-driven and gender-sensitive support to SMEs


Volunteers with technical expertise are embedded in institutions as well as out in communities, coaching entrepreneurs to improve access to finance, technology and markets and making connections with private sector companies. Over five years, we expect to see:

  • Deliver business training to 1760 SMEs
  • 2,500 new jobs created by SMEs
  • Increase in income of 1,300 supported SMEs (40% women-led) and their employees
  • Improved quality of services provided
  • SMEs better understanding business tools, technical inputs and financing opportunities available to them to grow their businesses
  • SMEs better able to access market opportunities in target sectors
  • Institutional partners supports the growth and devlopment of SMEs and offer better quality services
Celina Chibanda, entrepreneur in Iringa, Tanzania | VSO VSO/Mwanzo Millinga

Mama Celina Chibanda, who has a micro business selling peanut butter and other food products, is working with VSO volunteers on the T-LED project

Empowering entrepreneurs

Training in business, marketing, finance and IT will be offered to SMEs through innovation and enterprise centres established in the four target regions. Volunteers will provide the training, mentoring and support that will empower entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.

Access to technology and finance

T-LED will establish a technology innovation fund that SMEs can apply for through a competitive bidding process, for access to specific technology in growing their businesses. 

The project also facilitates linkages between SMEs and investors and financial institutions that are SME financing-focused and friendly.

Strengthening staff and partners

In order to strengthen the project and make it self-sustaining, it is crucial that our Tanzanian institutional partners are supported to strengthen their business development services, making them more market-responsive and gender-sensitive.

Volunteers will also work with partners in delivering training of trainers methodology in these services, particularly in financial management, business management and marketing, and monitoring and evaluation.   


T-LED is implemented in partnership with key Tanzanian institutions mandated with building the country’s SME sector: the Tanzania Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (TCCIA), the Small Industry Development Organisation (SIDO), and the Tanzania Women Chamber of Commerce (TWCC).

Department of Global Affairs Canada logo

The project is managed by VSO and CUSO International, and funded by the government of Canada through the Department of Global Affairs Canada (DGAC).

Cuso International logo

Professional volunteer recruitment

The T-LED project can only change the lives of entrepreneurs and thousands of their staff through the support of volunteers with specialist skills in business development.

Roles vary, but throughout the project VSO will be recruiting business management advisers, financial management advisers and marketing advisers.

View live volunteer vacancies to see these roles and more.


  • Local office: VSO Tanzania, Kahama Rd, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
  • Telephone: +255 22 260 0053
  • Email: