Last week, after POTRAZ announced the new ICT Innovation Drive fund for startups, questions started coming in. Techzim had numerous questions of its own. So we brought all questions together and presented them to POTRAZ, who are managing the fund. They responded.
We’re considering this an FAQ to help you understand the ICT Innovation Drive fund and application process better. You can therefore make a decision on whether this is for you or not. If you find you still have questions unanswered, please let us know in the comments:
How much is this fund in Total? Is the $25m that has been quoted in the press thus far correct?
Funding will be available for genuine life changing ICT Innovations that in turn will revolutionize ICT Innovation in Zimbabwe. Loans will be available continuously for Innovators and will not be a once off event. It is a revolving loan fund, therefore it is not stagnant.
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Will this fund be a business loan that will have to be repaid or will it be a grant?
This will be given as a business Loan
If a business loan, what are the repayment terms.
New Innovations will be given 12 months to begin repayments and those already in initial stages of operationalization will be given 6 months before repayment begins.
Does government plan to get a stake in the innovations it funds?
Government does not intend to have a stake in these businesses. The intention of the drive is to capacitate young people to maximize on their talents, create employment and build strong profitable businesses from the support.
Is there a minimum or maximum amount that can be provided to a successful applicant?
No, the amount is dependent on the level of innovation and what solution the innovation will bring to Zimbabwean communities, industry and the economy.
What are the terms and conditions for applying to this fund especially regarding the following questions:
- Who can apply (Nationality and residence)?
Any Zimbabwean. However the innovation must benefit Zimbabweans even if it has a long term growth or expansion plan to serve further markets.
- Does the business need to be resident in Zimbabwe?
The Innovation must steer economic growth and development for Zimbabwe
- Is this for new ideas completely or ideas that are already in the market as businesses can apply?
This is for both, however the focus is on innovations that will make a difference in terms of community and economic solutions.
- Can a company that has other products in the market, apply to secure funding for a new product?
As long as the company is Zimbabwean and offers solutions for Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwean economy
- Can foreign brands that have a local subsidiary in Zimbabwe apply? Is there an age restriction on the applicants?
This project is for Zimbabwean Innovators regardless where they are located.
Who will be involved in the adjudication process of the ideas?
Experts drawn from proposal focus areas e.g. if the proposal focuses on agriculture the agriculture experts will be called in to adjudicate as experts in the area.
What is the process of adjudication that is going to happen after applicants submit?
These will be industry experts drawn from different sectors of the economy depending on which area the project focuses on. E.g. if its medical, medical experts will preside over the adjudication process of the Innovation to ensure expert and fair decision making on the credibility of the project.
When will the successful applicants likely know that they are successful?
Immediately after the adjudication process is completed
Will the list of those that become successful in applying be announced? If so when?
Yes, as soon as the adjudication process is completed.
When will the successful applicants to this fund start receiving the funding?
As soon as the adjudication process is complete and viability assessments are complete
Are the successful applicants going to receive other non-monetary support after receiving the funds, e.g. business & technology training, business mentorship?
They will receive technical and business support in the form of mentorship and training in critical business success areas such as Finance management and business acumen. Our goal is to yield sustainable and profitable businesses
Will government itself provide any facilitation to successful applications that may need access to government services, e.g. licensing, selling to government or will they be treated as any ordinary business in Zimbabwe?
There will not be any special treatment for any of the Innovators. All innovators will have to comply with government registration and licensing conditions. However, they can include the costs within their loan application budget.
Is there going to be any monitoring of those that receive funds to ensure effective use of the funds? If so, what are the monitoring processes that have been put in place?
Each funded Innovator will be assigned Business, Technical, Finance and Marketing Mentors to assist with ensuring that the business is run professionally and funds are accounted for.