The long awaited Zimbabwe ICT Innovation Drive has finally been launched. As we reported last week Potraz was availing their funding project that is meant to empower innovators that are making technological advancements in various sectors. The drive was announced back in 2016 but was yet to get an ‘official launch.’
The innovation drive accepted applications from 188 ‘innovators’. From these 188 innovators 6 will be getting funding from the government. The mode and technicalities around payment will be discussed between Potraz and innovators. All the speakers at the event made sure that they did not refer to any of the beneficiaries as startups. Throughout the event they referred to them as ‘innovators.’
Potraz will also communicate with those who submitted but failed to make it in this round. They will advise these innovators on how to regroup and make improvements before trying again in future. Emphasis was made on the fact that the drive is a revolving fund meaning it will continuously fund innovators. This is not a one-off thing so it will be interesting to see how they proceed going forward. The amount being given was also not disclosed at the fund.
The ICT and Cyber Security Minister had some things to say about the innovation drive in relation particularly to the students of Zimbabwe:
The fund is going to make their dreams come true. The young people here have been looking for people who walk the talk. There is nothing special about the kids of silicon valley. We can do the same and better.
As alluded to before Mandiwanzira stated that the aims of the Innovation Fund are:
- Increasing research and development as well as ICT uptake by young innovators.
- Establishing innovation hubs
- Increasing the number of home-grown ICT applications
- Creating Employment in Zim
- To promote a culture of innovation and development among Zimbos
- Increase financial literacy
- Providing training to the beneficiaries of the funds
Mandiwanzira also noted that use of ICT’s will increase efficiency in business, and reduce costs of transactions. The fund will support universities that focus on technology with grants: The technology innovations will be considered across various fields such as software development, mining and agriculture. The ICT Fund will work hand-in-hand with the ICT Policy.
Funding will be on a monthly basis for innovations and funds will be available for innovators across the country. The Telecommunications will contribute %1 of their revenue to help funding of these innovations.
List of Innovators getting funding…
- Purple Signs
- Shift Organics Technologies
- Nativ Project
- Red Pen
Congratulations to the innovators who got their applications and best of luck to future applicants. Interesting times await us.[WE WILL UPDATE THE ARTICLE ONCE WE KNOW HOW MUCH FUNDING THE INNOVATORS ARE GETTING]