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Local technology hub Hypercube and relief agency Mercy Corps have organised Zimbabwe’s first ever participation in the Startup Weekend. This technology entrepreneurship event, started by startupweekend.org will run from the 16th to the 18th of May 2014.
Startup Weekend is a non-profit organisation registered in Washington USA. It conducts Startup Weekends which are 54 hour events that bring together developers, designers, start-up enthusiasts, business leaders and marketers. The objective is to build products, share ideas and form teams as well as launch successful start-ups.
To date 1068 Startup Weekend events have been carried out in 478 cities creating 8190 start-ups with over 80% of participants proceeding to work with their start-up team and idea beyond the weekend itself.
According to information gathered from the Harare Startup Weekend website, the event will be open to anyone with an idea geared towards tech entrepreneurship. However there is an emphasis on the participation of young people and women.
A standard Startup Weekend format will be used for the local event, and entrance will be subject to the purchase of tickets from participants.The tickets are on sale for a $99 general price, a $80 ‘early bird’ special and $50 for students. We spoke to one of the event organisers from Hypercube, Irene Chikumbo, who explained what the entrance fee would cover.
The fee enables participants to gain access to mentorship and networking opportunities the event is set to provide as well as meals and refreshments for the whole weekend. Part of the package also includes books on startup methodologies from Google as well as a complimentary gift bag from the sponsors.
Prior to the Startup Weekend there will be a preparatory Boot Camp on the 10th of May open to all registered participants meant to help them refine their pitches, identify open source and other technologies, and connect with potential customers to review ideas before the event itself.
The Boot Camp will have business and intellectual property law experts who will run through the pros and cons of collaborating on ideas in an “open IP” environment like the Startup Weekend. Advice on risk taking and handling entrepreneurial set-backs will also be shared.
The best team selected at the end of the three day Startup Weekend will be awarded with vouchers from Google, .Co and Amazon Web Services, a three month accelerator program with Hypercube, financial and business opportunities as well as smart phones and tablets.
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