Throughout the past four years, students, faculty and leaders from The Ohio State University’s Global Water Institute have partnered with the University of Dodoma in Tanzania to explore a number of projects, including research activities, development of renewable energy systems, exploration of a hands-on learning lab for solar-powered wells, Fulbright Scholarships, collaborative field work and post-doctoral exchanges.

Recently, with the added support of Fisher College of Business, the partnership featured a new dimension — a business plan competition.

Twenty-five University of Dodoma students participated in the competition, with the top-three teams earning the opportunity to present their ideas to a panel of judges. These judges included Keely Croxton, associate professor of logistics and co-director of Fisher’s Full-Time MBA program, and representatives from Dodoma and the World Bank.

The winning team, SAROJI, proposed the creation of new online market for Tanzanian handicrafts and art products. The goal of the service is to sustain the market for such crafts year round and prevent the dips that occur with the tourism cycle.

“A key to this new initiative was the strong support of Fisher College of Business, in particular, Dean Anil Makhija and Professor Keely Croxton, along with Michael Camp, of the Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence,” said Marty Kress, executive director of the Global Water Institute (GWI). “Keely and Michael actively collaborated with Joel Mmasa, dean of Dodoma’s College of Business Studies and Law, and Flora Fabian, Dodoma’s vice president for research, to make this project a reality.”

2019 GWI Business Plan Competition - Tanzania 2
A University of Dodoma student presents his team's idea during the Global Water Institute's first-ever business plan competition. The competition was presented in collaboration with the GWI, Fisher and the University of Dodoma in Tanzania.

Outreach efforts such as the business plan competition have raised awareness of the GWI and its impact around the world. The U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam has inquired about expanding next year’s GWI competition to include four university in Tanzania -- Dodoma, Dar, Sokoine and Mandela.

The competition is one way Fisher and the GWI are partnering to equip developing nations to solve challenges through business. This summer, Fisher will offer a new course on franchising, with an emphasis on social impact investing in developing worlds. The course will be taught by Michael Seid, a member of the GWI’s External Advisory Board and managing director of MSA Worldwide.