Zimbabwe and regional technology news and updates

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ZOL Start-up Challenge: Predict and win competition winner

Thank you for the overwhelming entries to everyone who participated in the ZOL Startup Challenge – Predict and Win competition. The winner of the 1.5GB ZOLspot voucher is Simbarashe D.

And the winner of the ZOL Start-up Challenge is…

We’re here at the Crowne Plaza in Harare and the winner in the ZOL Startup Challenge 2011 has just been announced. It is the Mukela Travel team. The prize money for Mukela Travel is US $10,000. Of that, US $5,000 is cash and the other half in Internet services.

ZOL Startup Challenge: Predict and win competition!

As you probably know, tomorrow is the big day; Five finalists in the ZOL Start-up Challenge will battle it out for the top prize at the finals. The top start-up will be awarded US $5,000 cash and US $5,000 worth of internet services from ZOL. Two runner-ups will each get US $2,500 cash and US $2,500 in internet services.

Today, we’re happy to announce that one of you our readers also get to win something in the challenge.

Startups, pride and open source

Since I started working with the internet back in 2001, I have used open source software to create. Indeed, back then open source software was the only opportunity to create online for a lot of people. I was in a Zimbabwean city called Gweru, and software piracy then was not as rampant as it the case now.

ZOL Startup Challenge Finalists: FUNZA

Funza is an online recruitment platform targeted at grassroots recruitment. It is the only concept stage startup to qualify for the finals. Escar concludes will also provide its development, placement and consultancy services in the greater sub-region.

Financial Express: a startup takes aim at Goliath

Not too long ago, Kabweza and l met Tommy Deuschle of Big Africa – a start-up that has gone through many pivots. According to Tommy, the current focus of the company is to become a virtual startup/business accelerator by leveraging on the power of relationships in business. His aim is to create a self sustaining network of businesses that compliment and consolidate each other. One of these startups that Big Africa is a part of is Finx (Financial Express).

ZOL Startup Challenge Finalists: Softwarehouse – Hardware Inventory

Hardware Inventory is a proprietary Windows based application developed by Softwarehouse, a local startup that began on the back of their Quickstem Suite-a floriculture management software that has been used by farmers in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, and the Netherlands among others. Quickstem was beginning to gain traction until the global recession resulted in less demand for the product, combined with local challenges the flower growing sector has faced locally.

ZOL Startup Challenge Finalists: Ribe Networks

Ribe Networks is a local chat application that has set its sight on disrupting internet based messaging. It intends to do so by offering users across all mainstream mobile and pc platforms the ability to interact with peers through the lightweight and locally hosted Ribe Chat application. Users can link their Ribe account to Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, MSN, Yahoo Mail and others.

Startups: The International Telecoms Union is waiting for your pitch

Two weeks ago, ITU (the International Telecoms Union) launched a global competition that seeks to give 60 Young Innovators and Digital Innovators the chance to travel to its flagship event, ITU Telecoms World in Geneva (October 24-27). Entrants will be able to pitch their ground-breaking ideas to leaders of the world’s ICT industry. Techzim would have wanted to publish this sooner however we have just found out about it. And it’s not too late!

ZOL Startup Challenge Finalists: Mukela Travel

With just ten days left before the ZOL Startup Challenge finals, this short series will profile each finalist in the challenge, exploring what they hope to achieve and how they intend to do so.  Team: Tawanda Sibanda, Vimbai Hungwe , Takudzwa Mhlanga Sector: e-Tourism Product Summary: Online reservation and hospitality management Product Status: live Mukela […]

Startup Challenge: One swallow doth not a summer make!

I thought it important to share with you my recent experiences as a judge at the inaugural Zimbabwe Tech Start-Up Challenge. First of all go take a look at “3 more finalists are selected for the Start-Up Challenge” which will give you a good idea of what happened. Part one is on this link!

The long and the short of it is that the innovation and skills that were on show far exceeded my expectations, which were admittedly pretty low, but nevertheless……

3 more finalists are selected for the Startup Challenge

Yesterday, 16 August was an intense day at the Startup Challenge. A total of 10 tech startups pitched to the panel of judges and 3 were selected to go through to the next round. The startups that made it to the next round are, in no particular order: Software House (an Internet based tech hardware inventory tool), Funza (a recruitment company, looking to use the internet to implement some unique recruitment methods) and Ribe Networks (developing a chat aggregation social and social network & communication platform, Ribe Chat.)

Pictures: the Startup Challenge on 15 August 2011

We spent the better part of today at the Startup Challenge interacting with tech startups and watching them demo. It was an exciting day, filled with a lot of great ideas presented by some of the most interesting Zimbabweans in tech. It’s not easy to explain how it feels to be amoung such amazing people and watch them passionately talk about their startups.

Startup Challenge: Open for applications to 15 August qualifying event

At the qualifying Startup Challenge event, held last week alongside BarCamp Zimbabwe on 3 August, only 2 startups, Mukela Travel and Sadomba-Mahari, managed to make it to the finals. The target was 5 startups to battle for the collective prizes totaling $25,000 – sponsored by Zimbabwe Online (ZOL).

MTN rolls out Africa and Middle East Apps Challenge

MTN Group- Africa’s biggest telecommunications firm; has introduced an Africa and Middle East focused app development contest. According to an article by Business Day South Africa last week, the company has begun the challenge as part of a build up to the launch of its own app store. It is inviting software developers across its operating markets and beyond to submit innovative applications that are built on or address African and Middle Eastern experiences.

Zimbabwe in top 10 African ICT hubs of the future list

According to a survey conducted by African Business Panel and echoing the sentiments of 800 business professionals across Africa, Zimbabwe is expected to be among the continent’s top 10 ICT hubs out of a total 53 states in the next five years. The report was released in Amsterdam last month and pinpoints South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya at the top of the rankings. South Africa has traditionally been a gateway to Africa for most international ICT firms and has of late been losing its glow to Kenya which among other things is Africa’s first nation to have an open data policy.

BarCamp: Thoughts and contributions on building scalable startups & products

Wow! Wednesday was a great day to reflect on for us here at Techzim. BarCamp Zimbabwe; the country’s first grassroots ICT event finally came together. The event was made possible through the support of ZOL and other sponsors like Byers Design, Matamba Anonaka Technology Holdings, Webdev and Zimbojam. It was also the work of great individuals in the organizing team, notably; Joseph Manzungu, Lennex Zinyando, Christine Dube, Chengetai Chikwanha, Richwell Phinias, Richard Mberi, Larry Kwirirayi and many other people who helped leading to the event.

Startup Challenge: 2 startups through to the finals, 3 slots remaining

Yesterday, a total of 15 startups pitched at the Startup Challenge, held alongside BarCamp Zimbabwe. It was quite an experience seeing the 15 teams, one after the other present their ideas and solutions. We have quite some talent and ingenuity among us. This was the first tech pitching event for a lot of people present and, there was a lot to learn for everyone; organisers, startups and we’re sure, even the judges.

Pictures: BarCamp Zimbabwe and the Startup Challenge

Yesterday, we spent the day at BarCamp Zimbabwe. It was busy day and we had a blast. We loved every minute. The Startup Challenge went well too. Unfortunately we couldn’t fill the 5 finalists slots we had. Only two were taken and the rest will have to be at another event. Here are a couple of photos from the event.

Startup Challenge: What Applicants need to know about pitching

A lot of startup applications have been coming in for the US$ 25, 000 Startup Challenge which is being run alongside BarCamp Zimbabwe 2011. Since an event of this nature has not happened in Zimbabwe before, the following practical pointers can bring applicants and prospective entrepreneurs up to speed on the elements found in a good pitch:

mLabs Southern Africa opens up for startup membership applications

Yesterday, Southern Africa’s incubator for mobile startups, mLab Southern Africa (SA), opened up for membership applications. mLabs SA announced that the incubator’s head office in Pretoria will be opening in officially on 15 September.

Zimride: Silicon Valley Startup scouting for Zim talent

It’s not everyday that a startup based in Silicon Valley; the home of Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and just about every significant technology platform-eagerly looks to hire local talent. Well this is not just any startup, its Zimride! According to Logan Green; the startup’s co-founder and CEO, they are currently seeking to hire talent from around the world and Zimbabweans would be a great addition to the team…

Startup Challenge – A chance for Zim startups to win US $25,000 in prizes

On 3 August (just some 9 days away), BarCamp Zimbabwe will be held in Harare. The event is for tech startups, geeks, entrepreneurs and generally the whole tech community in Zimbabwe. We’re excited about it. We’ve longed for tech startup events like this one and we feel this will take tech in Zim to another level. It will spark bigger things, bigger events and hopefully attract some investment into great ideas and great people.

Zimride: The Silicon Valley Start-up inspired by Zimbabwe

In 2005 Zimbabwe was halfway through it’s nearly decade long economic crunch. Hyper inflation was well on its way to breaking records in an experience few would want to relive. If the timely adage that necessity is the mother of all invention holds true, then the following story is a perfect indicator of the ‘greatness’ that can be found in or through Zimbabwe.

Startup focus: and your wallet

Winston Taylor, founder of the relatively new startup, came by the office last week Friday for a short discussion about his startup. We are always excited about local startups of all shapes and sizes and quickly delved into his. To begin with, is a month old trading division of Rollout Ads.

Free SMS Zimbabwe launches. Our brief take on it

How would you like using the internet to send free SMSs that have adverts appended? Something like “How are you Sumba? – Send money to Zimbabwe with ABC Zim Ltd,”. Really, we would love to know, please comment below. In the meantime, here’s more about the this new service.

The need for a self-regulating mobile VAS providers body

There’s a growing appetite for mobile value added services (VAS) in the market. This is true for mobile network operators, developers and the mobile subscribers.

Developers and entrepreneurs are seeing the opportunities that Zimbabwe’s (and that of African countries in the region) rising mobile penetration avails. Subscribers too are starting to use mobile phones in ways they did not before. The gadget has evolved into much more than just a device to make voice calls and send text messages. There’s internet, music, TV, file transfer, games, and most recently money transfer.

Local startup launches, a local pages platform

A few days ago we visited Dariro, a new startup building what we can describe as a ‘local pages’ web platform. The website is still in beta and it’s live on The website also provides a platform for developers to build their own applications. The Dariro founder is Richwell Phinias, an internet marketing entrepreneur.

Social Media: Winky D is the Big Man

Winky D shot to stardom in a manner that left many recovering from his mesmerising impact. From the dusty streets of Kambuzuma he has risen to defy all established conventions by taking over local airwaves, entertainment systems, and many an iPod/mp3 player. Before his emergence, Dancehall was a niche genre for Rastafarians and hardcore fanatics; he has not only transformed this but created a very compelling mainstream brand.

The Old Mutual Entrepreneurs’ guide that you should check out

A Twitter friend pointed us to the resource the other day. This site is called Old Mutual Entrepreneurs guide. It provides a collection of lessons (you can call it wisdom) delivered by seasoned entrepreneurs. They basically share what they have learnt in their journey building successfully companies in Africa.