ZOL Startup Challenge 2014 semi-finalists selected

Nigel Gambanga Avatar
ZOL Startup Challenge

ZOL Startup ChallengeThe journey to the ZOL Startup Challenge 2014 finals continued this week as we passed the deadline for applications on the 30th of September with 23 startups being shortlisted for the semi-finals.

Yesterday these 23 semi-finalists and the rest of the applicants not fortunate to be considered for this year’s edition were notified. The 23 startups are now preparing for the semi-finals scheduled for the 9th of October in Harare at Area 46.

The ZOL Startup Challenge 2014 semi-finals will be an elevator pitching session which will only be open to the shortlisted startups mentors and invited guests.

As part of the ZOL Startup Challenge 2014 the startups that make it past the semi-finals stage will go through a mentorship process in the run up to the finals slated for the 7th and 8th of November 2014.

The 23 startups selected for next week’s semi-finals are (in no particular order)

1. Elearning Institute
2. New World Technologies
3. CrowdFund
4. Realtors
5. Ndeipi
6. Zimbomusic
7. Hook-up
8. Cellphone Lottery
9. Big Brain Zimbabwe
10.TV Yangu
11. Pachikoro
12. Kuzeya
13. Dream Big Careers
14. Football Action
15. HappyMaids
16. www.shop365.co.zw
17. Link-up
18. Smart Irrigation System
19. Sociallyzim.com
20. QOR
21. HelpOut
22. ZHET
23. Room8



  1. freedomfight

    What time do the elevator pitches start?

  2. deathknellofinnovation

    Zol startup challenge launch was quite suscipious this year. There were so many changes in the structure and format of this year startup challenge, some based on totally baseless reasons. Anywhere there is nothing you guys could do. Its no longer business as usually and you have to squeeze for relevance. When I see the list above I am surprised how you came up with such a list. Can you please let the tech community know how you came up with that shortlist in Zim especially 2014, the year of startups. No wonder why it was published on a saturday? and so late. Even yourself is that the true list. Why has techzim decided to do things untransparently. Why not let all people pitch their ideas in front of an audience and then you select the best or even let the audience vote for the best ideas. Surely can people ideas be validated by a few keystrokes and two mouse clicks. Revert to the old format. I am seeing the hand of NIKUV here. One of the major problem of the Zol startup challenge has and still remains the judges and nothing else. and on this years edition the early judges have already blundered and the final judges will make their perenial bogus decision. Just ask yourself, where on earth is Mukela Travel the winner of the first zol challenge and many other winners except for one. zol challenge is no longer any important event on the zim tech calendar, it has been infiltrated with rogue elements.

    1. Kedo

      the zol techzim tech challenge is the best thing that has happened to zimbabwe, it has galvanised technology entrepreneurship in zimbabwe. these guys are doing a great job i salute them

      why not talk about frontrowzim ssn and the cow buying startup

    2. tinm@n

      You sound very bitter.

      It doesn’t follow that a winner will necessarily make it. Lots of “promising” start ups can whither and fail for many reasons. The judges are human and will not be able to tell 100% that one idea will succeed over the other.

      So if you have your idea,don’t lose hope if not chosen. If you’re still convinced have a go at it and succeed or fail.

      Lots of very successful ideas were turned away when they were only starting.

      1. deathknellofinnovation

        I am not a bitter person, actually I am made it in the shortlist. Not that my idea is really good but I would be happy if everyone is given a chance to pitch their ideas and those thought to be good proceed. Even if 200 people apply, let them all pitch rather than to shortlist people via email. For example if you look at some of the people in the list they pitched elsewhere and their ideas in person elsewhere and their ideas were rejected but right now they have been shortlisted. So why not give others the same opportunity to pitch in person and know where they really went wrong. if they fail to proceed. ZOL startup this time around has created a clique of startups for reasons best known to them. I and the others on the list we are just the same bunch of people who have been pitching year round at different foras. To be productive, I suggest Zol do a two or three tier challenge with different categories maybe early startups, another category for maybe slightly old startup and perhaps other categories for women. Otherwise Zol startup will be seen to pushing up their own close friends and relatives through systematic rigging that is difficult to detect.

        1. tinm@n

          I hear you now.

          Thoughtful of you to identity the flaws for the sake of those who didn’t make it.

          I didn’t know some pitches were by email. I thought all these are done in the form of physical presentations.

          However the selection is made,it has to be fair to all.If what you describe is how it happens,then I agree with you that it’s flawed

          1. Chanyane

            Not all applicants to a pitch event get invited to appear in person. This happens in almost all competitive events that request that you give a snapshot of your competing product. Even DemoAfrica 2014, which was won by my hometown startup, requires submission of applications that then get shortlisted. Asking about the criteria for shortlisting does nothing for improving the initial application process. It is ok for future competitions. Anyway that’s my 2 pence take of this.

        2. NOTdeathknellofinnovation

          Noone ever who makes it to the shortlist will ever cry for someone who didn’t make! Blaz imi munenge hamuna kusarudzwa.

        3. YoungTrep

          As much as I hear you that the process may need improvement, you also don’t want compare with deep-pocketed startup challenges from around the region. Say if you have 200 startups want to pitch, how can that be logistically managed especially if we are looking at a price of +-$10000. Will the ZOL Startup Challenge team be able to manage all that? How, when, where and with what resources?

          Anyone who had to submit their idea through the process this year would know that you have to give your best shot there. You cant long for a in-person pitch if you fail to sell your startup through that defined process.

          I think the number of shortlisted startups, 23, is a manageable figure given the size of the competition. Remember also that the judges and mentors are not doing this as a job, they are just volunteering for the love of tech startups in Zimbabwe.

          However, I like your idea of putting the startups into categories and again this has to be viewed from the sponsors perspectives. They are the guys with the money and this may mean increasing the buck they put in the challenge. FOOD FOR THOUGHT!

        4. YoungTrep
  3. LuoT

    Would have been nice if you hyperlinked each semi-finalist so we can have a look at their respective sites.

    1. Dennis

      Thats really good, the list must explain which projects featured in that list

  4. Tawanda Kembo

    Happy to see ZHET on that list. I’m glad they have continued to work on their idea

  5. @n0n

    How many people pitched altogether? Would be nice to get those stats. And a categorisation of what types of startup ideas or markets that were being targetted

  6. kuntamination

    this challenge is great like all challenges it has pitfalls but over and above it all it a noble idea. my question how many make it to the finals.

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