Inviting students to Join Renewable Energy Incubation Program

Design Thinking – Start Up Program

Every year, more than 900,000 students graduate from various institutions. Less than 10% get employed – where do the rest go?

Thinking of employing yourself after graduation? Start now and before graduating. The program brings in young innovators from Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology and University of Dar es Salaam work in teams to turn real social problems to solve real problems that affect communities and livelihood of the people. The concept aligns with study-work balance, start-up realization and entrepreneurial education to benefit and support industrialization drive. 

An Entrepreneurial co-curricular Skills Development Program organised under the auspice of E4R project – a Partnership initiative of Royal Academy of Engineering, University of Leeds University, and Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology.


Design Thinking – is like Learning by Doing[1] - Greek “Mens et Manus” program with young Dar es Salaam Technical Institute students aimed to develop right and vital entrepreneurial skill-set, start-up capacities and solving real community problems using renewable energy framework. The Centre has organised a joint program with University of Dar es Salaam whereby students learn through a co-curricular thinking, than treating education as extras curriculum turning theory into practices. The co-curricular approach seeks to embedded normal entrepreneurship lessons into their normal studies. This approach however aims to ensure that students Learn by Doing in one hand and on the other apply knowledge into solving real community problems.  As part of the program, young entrepreneurs will have a platform to pitch their innovative start-ups before potential investors[2]


1.0 Strategy

Usually, students are provided with theoretical thinking expecting them to implement their ideas through their academic projects, expecting to undertake them after graduating college. The reality underpinning this approach is uncertain and sometimes more create job seekers. The Design Thinking – hybrid course for learning communities is designed to enable students to use real social problems to create innovative ventures. It offers top-notch strategies to start and run them profitably, gaining experience through groups and mentorships. It is the reason, the course is delivered  through learning by doing thinking. In practical terms, a design studio is created  – a working space organised at the Renewable Energy Centre that would allow groups of students – re-Thinking groups, to work on their ideas – start up concepts. In our case, the program package includes – learning sessions, working in re-Think groups, mentoring, pitching and working space. It is important to have well organised space to design and test their concepts. The space offering students opportunity to access relevant references, networks and mentorship to support design thinking routes.

Photo: Ms. Bella Bird, World Bank Director engaging students from Ardhi and Johannesburg Universities in Dar es Salaam Upgrading Infrastructure Project – The Citizen, Saturday 9th March PP 4.

Through working groups, students will work together to identify focal problem areas, be guided to gather adequate problem impact and develop problem statement – briefing. Students will then use such a briefing to develop innovative solutions within renewable energies context. at the end of the course, students will pitch their work at the
night of ideas@dit-renewable energy centre.World Bank and multinational corporations are engaging youth in the innovative designing, a technique linking reach with impact. UN for example has recruited the technique to identify innovative peace-ideas in South Sudan peace framework.   

At the end of the semester, all students participating in the program will participate in the internal study-work event where all are expected to pitch their projects. Similarly, there is a possibility to pitch their work before organised annual Start-Up Hackathon event. Winners will be awarded

About 10 Design Thinking – Start Up sessions at the E4R Centre will be run parallel to normal academic program – co-curricular approach. The sessions are super designed to enable students generate innovative renewable energy start-up ideas. Through Learning by Doing, the start-up working groups are solving real social challenges using innovative business ideas. Students are organised in Solve re-Think Teams (STT) identify real challenges – and develop start-up opportunities that give impact to the group members, communities and the industry. Program architecture is derived from the fact that Start-ups have little business experience and group learning through doing reduces failure chances. Using co-curriculum approach, students will work in their STT groups for two-three months before participating the night of ideas at DIT.

The program provides Design Thinking handbook (course instructor can work with volunteers from Leeds University and other partners in the project to develop).  The program will require convenience at E4R Space – incubator space and instructional materials. As a result of the first round of Design Thinking program under E4R project, all the Solve re-Think Team outputs will be organised and circulated to the rest of students through social media platforms and college library. The Design Thinking program will be monitored with the Centre of Renewable Energy (Employment for Renewable).  


[1] The concept is line with overall goal of the Higher Education Partnership in Sub-Saharan Africa (HEP-SSA) program under the Royal Academy of Engineering. It underlines significance of realization of Education for Renewable (E4D) and it is implemented within Renewable Energy Technology Centre.

[2] It could be organised jointly with others to enable students market their start-ups