Global Entrepreneurship Week, the annual celebration of innovation and the entrepreneurship behind startups that contribute to world economies is halfway through and as has become the norm Zimbabwe is taking part in the celebrations with its own battery of events.
One of the highlights this week will be the 1776 Challenge Cup. This is a global tournament hosted by 1776, a global incubator and venture fund. that coordinates this challenge along with its Startup Federation partners, Revolution, the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN)
The Challenge Cup is aimed at promoting idea and network development while offering exposure for the most promising, world-changing startups that get to win cash prizes, make international connections and share their vision on a global stage.
This year, Zimbabwe is one of the countries taking part in the Challenge Cup with its own local competition which will be used as a knockout stage for the best startups. The winners will progress to the regional cup and if successful, battle it out at the Global Challenge Cup.
Local startup and business incubator, iZone Hub is hosting Challenge Cup Harare and the finals, scheduled for Saturday the 21st of November at 5 pm will be held at the Celebration Ministries in Borrowdale, Harare.
To register a place you can sign up for a free ticket by following this link and filling in the form
What can people expect at the Challenge Cup Harare?
According to Kudzai Mubaiwa, the team lead at iZone Hub and one of the coordinators of Challenge Cup Harare, 33 startups submitted their entries, and this number has since been reduced to 18 startups that went through a pitch training session. 15 of those startups will be pitching on Saturday night, with each startup given 2 minutes to explain their solution and business model.
The number of startups was reduced from the Challenge Cup standard total of 20 to ensure that only the best quality of startups solutions would be vying for the top spots. The selection is based on guidelines set by 1776 which include evidence of traction and potential to scale, along with a profit motive.
Three startups will be selected from the Harare competition and they will proceed to the regional competition in Nairobi scheduled for February 2016. The 5 best startups at this stage will the proceed to the global finals in Washington DC, USA, in 2016.
Winners at the global stage receive cash prizes which total $175,000 along with a potential investment of $1 million. There are also mentorship and networking opportunities with investors and experts.
Local partners for Challenge Cup include TelOne and POSB and speaking on the support they have received so far Mubaiwa says,
Our payoff line enterprise development in the digital age speaks of combining financial literacy and web literacy for economic development. We are proud to have two of the largest and broadest companies support us to build the startup ecosystem and we intend to take this further to ensure entrepreneurs and innovators in the digital age have internet and financial services access. In addition we are excited to have an upcoming comic Prosper the comic pastor as the first pitch of the night! We also are bringing in a local mbira musician to entertain.
iZone Hub is keen on making this an annual event with a set of plans aimed at extensing the competition to other provinces.