We live in the most incredible time. Technology is more available to us that it has been at any other time in history. With it comes amazing opportunity. The opportunity to transform the way we live and the opportunity to transform lives.
There are a great many stories of ordinary people who are creating extraordinary futures with technology, vision, determination, and a lot of hustle. We love these stories. They inspire us to dream bigger, to be braver, to do better, and to keep working hard to bring technology to more people.
For this reason, we have decided to begin capturing these stories. Some stories will be known, others we will tell for the first time. Our hope is that they inspire you as much as they inspire us.
Edwin Bruno, Tanzania
Edwin Bruno is no stranger to hustle. At 13 he helped to supplement his family’s income by selling cassette tapes on the informal market. After several years, and with the inevitable decline of tapes, he switched to selling CDs. Despite his successful side-hustle, Edwin was determined to further his education and he applied for a government grant to study at university. When the grant money came through, he decided to buy a laptop instead. With the remaining money he printed a stack of business cards advertising his services as a web developer.
With the laptop in hand he spent many hours studying web-design, and his first foray into the business of tech was developing advertising websites for companies. His business has evolved dramatically since then. Smart Codes is now a leading Tanzanian digital marketing and advertising agency. Their flagship product, and the one of which Edwin is most proud, is M-paper, a digital newspaper platform that allows anyone with a mobile phone to read local Tanzanian newspapers and magazines. The award-winning platform has transformed the lives of many people, particularly those in rural Tanzania who don’t have access to news content.
The company moto at Smart Codes is “until it is done”. It captures Edwin’s spirit beautifully: it is impossible, until it is done. From selling cassette tapes on the street to being listed as one of Forbes Africa’s 30 under 301.
For the record, Edwin did head to university after buying his laptop. He studied Computer Software Engineering at St. Joseph College of Engineering and Technology in Tanzania, and Private Equity & Venture Capital at Harvard University.