Perspectives on Software Development Start-ups in Tanzania

  • Jim Yonazi
  • Leah Yonaz


Software start-ups are one of the vital contributors to economic growth. They bring in new innovations useful to solve existing business problems. Therefore, it is necessary to develop an adequate environment for the establishment and success of start-ups for social and economic development. Existing research provide limited understanding on the key success factors for software development start-ups in developing countries. As a result, there is an insufficient knowledge useful to inform policies, planning and nurturing of start-ups in that context. This study contributes into addressing this issue by identifying issues influencing the success of software startups in Tanzania, a typical developing country. The study used an inductive approach in which categories of data were identified and analysed using qualitative framework, and facilitated by means of the Atlas.ti application. The results show that four issues determine the success of software development start-ups in Tanzania: (i) skills of entrepreneurs, (ii) software development process, (iii) local market trust and procedures, and (iv) adequacy of promotion framework for local software products. These results will be useful for the planning and growth of software start-ups in Tanzania and other similar developing country contexts.


Brinckmanna, J., D. Grichnikb, D. Kapsac, (2010),―Should Entrepreneurs Plan or Just Storm the
Castle? A Meta-Analysis on Contextual Factors Impacting the Business Planning–Performance
Relationship in Small Firms,‖ Journal of Business Venturing, 25, No.1: 24–40.

Bosch, J., H. H. Olsson, J. Björk, J. Ljungblad,(20013), ―The Early Stage Software Start-up
Development Model: A Framework for Operationalizing Lean Principles in Software Start-ups,‖ Lean Enterprise Software and Systems, 167: 1–15.

Chorev, S., Anderson, A.R., (2006), ―Success in Israeli High-tech Start-ups; Critical Factors and
Process,‖ Technovation, 26: 162–174.

Crowne, M., (2002), ―Why Software Product Startups Fail and What to Do About It,‖ In: Proceedings International Engineering Management Conference (IEMC), 2002, IEEE, Cambridge, England, UK: 338–343.

Duchesneau, D.A, W.B. Gartner, (1990), ―A Profile of New Venture Success and Failure in An Emerging Industry,‖ Journal of Business Venturing, 5(5): 297–312.

Giardino, C., X. Wang, P. Abrahamssons, (2014),―Why Early-Stage Software Start-ups Fail: a Behavioral Framework,‖ In Software Business Towards Continuous Value Delivery, of the Series
Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing.

Heeks, R., (2006), Implementing and Managing Egovernment: An International Text, London: Sage

Heslop, R., K. Johnston, (2015), ―Institutional Forces and the Written Business Plan: The Case of Technology Start-ups in South Africa,‖ In ICIE 2015 3rd International Conference on Innovation
and Entrepreneurship in Durban, South Africa. ICIE 2015, Academic Conferences Limited, UK, P.

Lasch, F., F.Y. Roy, S. Yami, (2007), ―Critical Growth Factors of ICT Start-ups,‖ Management
Decision, 45(1): 62–75

Marmer, M., B.L. Herrmann, E. Dogrultan, R. Berman, C. Eesley, S. Blank, (2012), The Startup Ecosystem Report, Technical Report, Start-up Genome.

Mazzarol, T., T. Volery, N. Doss, V. Thein, (1999), ―Factors Influencing Small Business Start-ups: A Comparison With Previous Research,‖International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour
Research, 5(2): 48–63.

PANOS, (2011), ―Realising the Potential of Icts in Tanzania‖. Accessed on 20 September 2015,
From: 01/panos-london-ICTs_and_tanzaniapolicy.pdf.

Pazi, S. & C. Chatwin, (2014), ―World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology,‖
International Journal of Social, Behavioral, Educational, Economic, Business and Industrial
Engineering, 8(3).

Peña, I., (2002), ―Intellectual Capital and Business Start-Up Success,‖ Journal of Intellectual Capital,
3(2): 180–198.

Rutashobya, L., J. Jaensson, (2004), ―Small Firms‘ Internationalization for Development in
Tanzania Exploring the Network Phenomenon,‖ International Journal of Social Economics, 31(1/2): 159–172.

Savaneviciene, A., V. Venckuviene, L.Girdauskiene, (2015), Venture Capital a Catalyst for Start-ups to Overcome the ‗Valley of Death‘: Lithuanian Case,‖ 4th World Conference on Business, Economics and
Management, 2015, WCBEM, in Kuşadası, İzmir, Turkey, , 26: 1052–1059.

Shimba, F.J, S. Pazi, D. Koloseni, (2013), ―Last Mile Connectivity Issues Facing Tanzania National ICT Backbone,‖ Paper presented at the International Conference on E-Technologies and Business on the Web (EBW2013); Conference Proceeding, (2013)

Straus, L. A. & M. J. Corbin, 1998, Basics of Qualitative Research: Techniques and Procedures for Developing Grounded Theory. Sage Publication.

Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), (2013), ―Quartely Telecom Statistics:
Quarter 3 (March 2013) Report,‖ available at:
communication/telecomStatsMarch13.pdf ,(accessed July 20, 2013).

—, (2013b). ―Quartely Telecom Statistics: Quarter 3 (December 2013) Report,‖ availabe at:,
(accessed June 2, 2014).

—, (2012). ―Broadcasting Services Statistics Report,‖ Retrieved June 2, 2014, from

Watson, K., S. Hogarth-Scott, N. Wilson, (1998),―Small Business Start-ups: Success Factors and
Support Implications,‖ International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behaviour Research, 4(3): 217–238.

Yonazi, J., (2012a), Cyber Security in Tanzania: Report on From the Cyber-Security Mini-Conference. Center for ICT Research and Center for ICT Research and Innovations (Ciri), Dar es Salaam,

Yonazi, J., (2012b), ―Status of the National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB) and Prospects
for Local Contents Development in Tanzania,available at: Proceedings of the ICTD4 Forum:,
(accessed August 2013).
How to Cite
YONAZI, Jim; YONAZ, Leah. Perspectives on Software Development Start-ups in Tanzania. The African Journal of Finance and Management, [S.l.], v. 26, n. 1, sep. 2017. ISSN 0856-6372. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 15 oct. 2019.
African Journal of Finance and Management