Startup Challenge: 2 startups through to the finals, 3 slots remaining

L.S.M Kabweza Avatar
David Behr (ZOL CEO), and Geoff Goss (Matamba Anonaka), part of the panel of judges

Yesterday, a total of 15 startups pitched at the ZOL sponsored Startup Challenge, held alongside BarCamp Zimbabwe. It was quite an experience seeing the 15 teams, one after the other, present their ideas and solutions. We have quite some talent and ingenuity among us. This was the first tech pitching event for a lot of people present and there was a lot to learn for everyone; organisers, startups and we’re sure even the judges learnt a thing or two.

The goal was to come up with 5 finalist startups that pitch at another event for the main prize: US $10,000 for the winning startup and US $5,000 each for the two runner ups (half of the prize money for each winner is in actual cash and the other half in internet services.) The 3 winning startups will also benefit from some business mentoring by the main sponsor to the challenge, Zimbabwe Online.

Of the startups that pitched, two were selected by the judges to go through to the finals. These are; Mukela Travel ( ), an online reservation site connecting local and international tourists to a network of accommodation options in Zimbabwe, and AvisPar Visual Package (, a 3D computer graphics animations application for advertising media production and film-making. At this stage, the 2 startups have received US $500 in cash and US $500 in Internet services.

What next:

In order to fill the remaining 3 slots, a follow-up pitching event will be conducted at the Miekles Hotel Harare Club in Harare, in which new startups are open to pitch and stand a chance to be among the 5 finalists. Startups that pitched at BarCamp Zimbabwe on 3 August are also welcome to pitch but will obviously need to fix the issues they had, or come up with a new idea/solution. We will open for submissions as soon as possible. An announcement will be made on the BarCamp site and here on Techzim this week.

The actual final pitching event is scheduled for a date to be announced when the 5 finalists have been chosen.

Some pictures of the startups that through to the finals:

Mukela Travel
The Mukela Travel team
Sadomba Mahari
The Sadomba Mahari team of the AvisPar Visual Package


  1. Telecel Zw

    How do we get feedback on our pitch that did not make it?

    1. L.S.M. Kabweza

      Hi Telecel Zw, 

      Sorry for not advising you about this. All startups should get something in their email by end of day tomorrow. 

  2. KuraiMGT

    I think prizes should have included Laptops, not internet services. but anyway, its just the beginning.

    1. David Behr

      It’s really all about funding – or lack of funding!  ZOL is a small company in a very competitive space.  We wish others would join us in this venture.  Trust me, if one of the big telecoms operators gave the same % of profit to this as we have done, everyone would be getting houses 🙂

  3. David Behr

    Just wanted to thank TechZim for organizing, and for all of you who presented.  The judges all enjoyed it so much and I was so impressed with the level of talent.  Can’t wait until next round!

  4. Tendekai Muchenje

    Ah this is nice. I feel rather proud to know both these groups. Tawanda and Takudzwa from Mukela are friends of mine through university and to see them pursue this this far is refreshing and gives hope to folks like myself who have gone to them for answers as well.

    Kudzayi (Sadomba-Mahari) is both a friend of mine and a former schoolmate of mine.
    Seriously, these guys have great work ethic and deserve nothing but success. I am sure with perseverance, all things will fall in place for them. Thanks so much BarCamp for acknowledging their tremendous efforts and regardless of whoever wins,  either will take this as great motivation to follow through.

    On a separate note, we actually also have a startup in place and would love to know when the next pitch event will be. We’d have loved to pitch but the chunk of the team was/is still doing summer work abroad. We should have our guys back in by Sunday. Even the guys we had registered to come check out the event (not pitch) could not make it on time for the day. Please do publish the date or email us the requirements and we will try by all means to pitch (even if it means sending a vodcast, lol)

    Again, congrats to Tawanda, Takudzwa, Kudzayi and i believe that is mfana Nyasha in the pic.BARCAMP and especially LSM Kabweza, you guys are great. Continue the good work on the Zim tech terrain. I hope everyone can take a moment to appreciate and commend what you are doing.

    1. David Behr

      Standby, dates are coming…. I *think* 15th + 16th Aug – so start working hard!

    2. L.S.M. Kabweza

      Hey Tendekai, check to submit your startup

  5. Guest

    Zol needs to fix their barcamp website. It’s so slooooooooooooooow!

    1. ClintonMutambo

      Its not Zol’s site guest, the site was done by  and is hosted at webdev.

      1. Anonymous

        Your site takes a lil forever to load.

  6. Kurai Chikwangwani

    Please also include our website in this article…

    1. L.S.M. Kabweza

      thanks. updated.

  7. Art (The Idea Factory)

    David, thanks to ZOL for inspiring innovation in Zimbabwe. Congrats to the finalists too.

  8. Anonymous

    Awsome Initiative alas to ZOL

  9. Anonymous

    Someone get me the Mukela guys details. Thats an awesome initiative I would love to have a talk with em on a certain concept. Is this competition open to developers Zimbabwean citizens out of the borders but in Africa? I obviously cant enter as a South African

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