#ExperteerSpotlight: Empowering the Next Generation of Social Entrepreneurs in Tanzania

Alexandra Nemeth

Senior Manager, Content Marketing & Storytelling at MovingWorlds

How did you get to where you are today professionally? Chances are, someone helped along the way — whether it’s a mentor giving advice, a friend in the industry helping you make connections, or a manager pushing you to grow. Darren, like you, received support in his own successful career path, and last year he made it his goal to support others that didn’t have the same level of support he had.

We were excited to welcome Darren and his incredible skills to MovingWorlds. We knew Darren would be a great Experteer as soon he applied, and he quickly found a project to support a business accelerator in Tanzania called Anza. Read his story to see how he leveraged his consulting experience to mentor bright entrepreneurs creating Tanzania’s future:

Darren mentoring entrepreneurs at Anza
Working with Anza Entrepreneurs on Business Plans

What inspired you to “take the leap” and go experteering, and what were you doing before?

I’m an IT Consultant based out of Los Angeles, and I’ve worked in technology and business at large organisations for about fourteen years. I ‘took the leap’ because I wanted to challenge myself to grow by immersing myself in a different culture and work environment. I also wanted to give back a little — I feel like I’ve been pretty lucky to grow up where I have, and I believe that we all should have the opportunity to live a great life. I love working in a team environment to get something new and exciting off the ground. I joined MovingWorlds to find the most impactful way for me to contribute my real skills to solve real problems.

What did you do on your experteering trip?

I worked at a business accelerator in Tanzania called Anza. Anza works with local social entrepreneurs to help grow their businesses by providing access to personalized and strategic capacity building, affordable capital, and relevant networks. The services that Anza provides assist entrepreneurs to strengthen their operations, increase profitability, and scale their impact to create more jobs and improved access to life-changing products in underserved markets.

As for my role, I served as a business mentor for entrepreneurs in the program. Each entrepreneur is paired with a business mentor to support them on specific topics based on expertise, so I focused specifically on any IT and/or operational challenges they faced. I got to work with 3 different social enterprises over the course of my stay: Mana Microfinance, Silverleaf Academy (quality education), and Capricorn Technology College (vocational training.) It was inspiring to be around so much ingenuity and creative problem solving!

Darren working with Mana Microfinance Team
Darren with the Mana Microfinance Team

What was the highlight of your experteering trip?

I’d have to say the highlight was working with a lot of inspirational and amazing people. The mentorship arrangement allowed for in-depth connections with the entrepreneurs I was paired with, and I left Tanzania having forged some great friendships. I was also able to get involved in local life in Arusha and spend time with the Anza team, which helped tremendously in terms of adjusting to the new culture and getting the most out of my time in Tanzania, both during working hours and in my free time.

Darren with Anza Entrepreneurs
Darren with Anza Entrepreneurs

What advice do you have for people thinking about experteering?

I would say that Experteering will be one of the most rewarding and life-changing experiences you’ll ever have. If you’re on the fence, take the leap
— at least for me, I feel that I’ve gained as much or more than what I was able to give.

How did your experteering trip expand your network and build your resume?

I met a lot of amazing people and was able to forge some real genuine relationships in a different part of the world. I’m trying to break into the social impact space, so having this work experience on my resume gives me hands-on experience to draw on in an application or interview. It’s a great way to get around the ‘you can’t get experience without having experience already’ problem, and MovingWorlds has lots of resources for job seekers as well in terms of content, job boards, and the support of the experteer community.

What were the biggest takeaways from your trip, and how will you translate that into your plans after you return home?

There is a lot of work to be done in the social impact space, but there’s also a lot of support for it if you have good ideas. My plan now is to either work for a social impact organization or start my own business — I’m not sure yet. Experteering with Anza confirmed for me that I’m heading in the right direction, and that I want to keep heading down the social impact trajectory. As someone pivoting careers, it’s nice to be able to ‘test run’ a completely different type of work as an experteer before making the job switch back home.

Darren at Anza
Darren mentoring entrepreneurs at Anza

What was the most rewarding part of your trip?

Overall, I’d have to say the most rewarding thing was working through challenges with clients and seeing the value that can be added when you work together. It was incredibly fulfilling to see the direct impact of the work I was doing, and to collaborate with such inspiring people working towards goals that were bigger than themselves. I learned as much from the entrepreneur mentees as they learned from me, it feels like — it was a real partnership, and confirmed my decision to keep pursuing this kind of purpose-driven work.

Inspired by Darren’s story? You’ve got the skills, and we’ve got the network, curriculum, and support — let’s work together to change the world! Schedule your complimentary membership consultation here for 1:1 application support, or jump right into the experteer application here.