It was a night of powerful engagement, insightful talks and network building as Techzim held the ZOL Startup Challenge Harare introductory meet-up yesterday at working space Area 46.
The event kicked off the Startup Challenge process as ZOL and Techzim took the opportunity to lay out the new format of the annual techpreneurship showcase.
This year’s challenge will reach out to Bulawayo startups with engagement in the form of a meetup on 4 September where the format and rules for participation will be laid out. There will be two techpreneurship skills development workshops; one for Harare on the 1st of September and another for Bulawayo prior to the call for the submission of applications.
The submission of applications will be from the 8th to the 30th of September with semi finalists being announced on the 3rd of October. The semi finals are set for the 11th of October.
The finalists selected at this stage will undergo a mentorship and skills development programme shortly after. This process, meant to gear the startups for the challenge and future prospects for scaling and investment, will lead to the two day finals slated for the 7th and 8th of November in Harare.
Addressing people at the meetup ZOL’s CEO,David Behr, touched on ZOL’s interest in startups as entities that leverage on the internet’s opportunities for business and investment.
He highlighted how they have been working on providing cheaper internet solutions to the majority of Zimbabweans and how this was being exemplified by ZOL and Liquid’s ambitious fibre rollout. Currently ZOL is working on providing a cheaper fibre package that will be available in the short to medium term.
Speaking in a Q&A session after their presentations, David Behr and Techzim CEO Soul Kabweza pointed out how the startup challenge has a greater focus on startups that are able to provide solutions rather than just an emphasis on the technology. This aspect was also tied into their comments that encouraged startups to focus on solving local problems with a pull on teamwork.
Part of the meetup was dedicated to a fireside chat with last year’s participants and winners; Chenjerai Katanda of School Sports Network and Zimbo Kitchen’s techpreneur couple of Aurthur and Rumbie Shoko. Sharing their experiences in online business and the startup challenge, they gave insights into the dynamics of teamwork, funding, owning ideas and mentorship.