CDEA’s Creative Economy Incubator

Executive Director, Culture and Development East Africa (CDEA)

Ayeta Anne Wangusa is a creative thought leader with interest in African Literature, creative economy, cultural policy and sustainable cities. She is a member of the Expert Facility for UNESCO 2005 Convention and Steering Committee member for the African Cultural Policy Network (ACPN).

She co-founded CDEA in October 2011, as a creative think tank based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania that provides cultural and Pan-African thought leadership through structured workplace learning, incubation, research & advocacy and capacity building for social change. CDEA also innovates on how space can be used to enhance sustainable workplace productivity and green community lifestyles.

From Research to Piloting

Between 2015-2017, CDEA implemented a research programme funded by CKU/DANIDA titled Research in Culture and Creative Industries focusing on the film and music sub-sectors’ contribution to creative economy in Tanzania and EAC Common Market. One of the expected outputs was to pilot projects based on research findings for the film and music industries. The choice of film and music was because CDEA has an audio-visual incubator that focused on film and music.

Mr. John Okello creating his piece

The pilot began with a design thinking workshop to establish an online marketplace and informational portal for the film and music in East Africa. CDEA decided to add fashion and accessories designers, after the launch of its design incubator. The audio-visual and design incubator are now part of CDEA’s Creative Economy and Accelerator Initiative.

However, before the implementing the pilot project, CDEA realised that there was need to provide technical and business support to emerging fashion and accessories designers, filmmakers and musicians in preparation for the market and investors. CDEA also realised that since its niche is to design and develop evidence-based programmes that place culture at the centre of development in East Africa, there was need to pilot a project that encouraged the mobility of artists in the EAC region, building on the slogan of one of its platforms, The East African Vibes Concert, #VukaBoda.

The launch CDEA’s Creative Economy Incubator

A group photo of the Fashion and accessories design workshop

On November 25, 2016, CDEA with support from GIZ and the East African Community (EAC) launched and tested its one-year Creative Economy Incubator for fashion and design accessories, film and music industry incubatees from Tanzania and Uganda.

The incubator aimed to provide technical and business development skills for selected incubatees, a platform for marking creative enterprises and services and to mobilize stakeholders to attend the 1st Mashariki Creative Economy Impact Investment Conference in 2017.

The Impact for East African Creatives

Through the incubator, CDEA was able to provide technical and business development skills to 17   fashion and accessories designers, 41 filmmakers and 32 musicians from Uganda and Tanzania making a total of 90 project beneficiaries. It also provided a platform for 4 incubatees to pitch their business ideas to an audience of potential investors during the Mashariki Creative Economy Impact Investment Conference, May 11-12, 2017, an annual conference   organized by CDEA.

In 2019, CDEA got additional funding from the African Cultural Fund (ACF) to accelerate the incubatees through market access via e-commerce.