Student works to provide free internet access in Zim

University student and technology enthusiast Takunda Chingonzo says the invitation to participate in President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) had an immediate impact on his work.

Takunda-Chingonzo

“(The invitation) immediately changed my perspective and accelerated our plans to liberate the internet, everything suddenly became decisively serious,” says Takunda.

Takunda is the co-founder of Neolab Technology, a multi award-winning startup working on pioneering technology fit for emerging economies. He is also the co-founder of Saisai Wireless, a startup that offers “free” WiFi for the public by deploying hotspots in public transportation, and Neoeffect, a social enterprise that trains entrepreneurs and increases IT literacy for the underprivileged.

During his time as a YALI Washington Fellow, Takunda will attend classes at the University of Notre Dame, located in South Bend, Indiana.

As a participant in the business and entrepreneurship track of the fellowship, he says he hopes to learn the mechanics behind funding start-ups and attracting capital.

“I hope to learn how to establish sustainable social ventures that do not rely on donor funding. My entire journey over the next few weeks will revolve around understanding first world start-up ecosystems, how they grew, how they operate and how they utilize rapid idea validation.”

After completing his coursework, he will spend an additional eight weeks interning at Africa Venture Partners, a private investment and strategic management company based in Berkeley, California that focuses exclusively on Africa.

Takunda is a firm believer that start-ups can be the catalyst that is needed for Zimbabwe’s economic turnaround. “Their ability to churn out disruptive innovation that revolutionises industry will bring about the solution that we need,” he argues. “We are our own solution to the problems that plague us as a nation, challenges in technological advancement and the issues of unemployment.”

He is practical and hopes to rapidly expand his venture’s social programs under NeoEffect.

Neoeffect aims to promote the emergence and growth of student run enterprises in Zimbabwe’s tertiary institutions. Examples include BOOT Africa, which is already operational at the National University of Science and Technology in Bulawayo.

His venture’s first start-up, Neolab Technology (www.neolab.co.zw) actively works with and recruits from tertiary institutions, spurring innovation by implementing hybrid business models that allow students to effectively take part in the development and deployment of ICT products.

His work with Saisai revolves around the same ethic. “We are creating the #UbuntuNetwork, to bridge the digital divide, by redistributing access to the internet and getting everyone online,” says Takunda. He forecasts that Saisai is going to become a gateway for local developers, content creators and curators, to reach their targeted consumers.

Takunda is currently studying for a Bachelor’s Degree in Quantity Surveying (Hons) at the National University of Science and Technology in Bulawayo. Among his notable achievements include pioneering the “for a child campaign,” a human rights awareness initiative, in his capacity as the Junior Prime Minister in the Zimbabwe Junior Parliament (17th session).

Takunda was also a finalist in the Young Creative Entrepreneurs Awards sponsored by JCI in 2013 and the winner at the Boost fellowship’s SME Awards for the “most outstanding startup venture.”

44 Comments

  1. Yolanda Chirwa

    Amazing work. Keep it up Tkay!

    1. The sky is your limit you make us proud young man, keep focussed and by the way avoid opposition politics.

    2. Hie, thanks yolanda, its our team effort!!!!

  2. Audie drey muren

    Good job. Its a win win for everbody involved.

  3. Free internet access?! tell us more, shall we have to wait until you get back from the states to enjoy that #excited about all the awesome work you are doing.

    1. Oh no no not at all, in the next few days, we shall be rolling out our network, free WiFi, like happiness, waits for no man. Lol. Our sign up page will be up soon. Be sure to sign up andhelp us create the #ubuntuNetwork that you want.

      1. proud of you dear

    2. haha i see what you did there mr running man

  4. amazing stuff Takunda im sure through your social programs we can transform ideas to sustainable business models..#BootAfrica

    1. Indeed, in fact, we are soon exapnding into the other tertiary institutions and rolling out. If I were a varsity student rightnow….I would be keeping my eyes peeled open!! Lol

  5. janet nyasha ranganai

    This is surely Awesome.You doing well Tk, Zimbabwe is going to places thru pple lyk U.Welldone

  6. Congrats mafana!

    1. Thanks mate, its time that we showed the world what we are all about here in Zim!!

  7. you are doing great things dude keep it up.just di everything in your capacity to help our beloved Zimbabwe.I SALUTE YOU MAN.

    1. Thanx mate, indeed, the only way that we can grow, is by ensuring that those around us also grow, that way, we become an unstoppable force of growth and sustainable development!! This is what we believe in, at neolab technology, and it is the same belief I carry with me where ever I go!

  8. man God will continually supply you with solutions that the world needs

    1. Thank you soo much, we are but a means to a greater end!

  9. Congratulations. You are truly amazing. May God continue to exapand your territory. I hope you will resist the west who set at getting Africans with potential to impact Africa. Your influence will go beyond Zimbabwe. Remain focused. I wish we had more focused young people like you.

    1. Thank you so much, I believe that there are alot more people like me, and even more better, and more capable than me, it is our job to seek out these people, and ignite that passion to want to build our beloved nation and beautiful continent! We are our own solution!

  10. Liberating the net is essntial in spearheading socio economic development.. great work man. you got my weight.

    1. Indeed its about bridging that digital divide, and the opportunities that lie in achieving this are just mind blowing, thank you for the support

  11. Zimbabwe just needs enabling environments for startups to thrive. We need a govt lead by educated people who are not intimidated by technology. Corrupt free banks that can give soft long term loans. We need authorities who lead policies & practises that are not designed to rip off businesses. No amountvof US training will fix this. Its good for him but we are our worst enemies

  12. Young man, stay clear of ZANU PF. That horrible party will claim credit for everything that you will achieve. Beware of its youth wing activists seeking to sponsor you via the useless ministry called SME. Finally, I wish you well in your enterprise.

  13. Zimbos be ware of these work at home,sitting on a computer making $5637 as commented above, these are fake and fraudulent, your bank account will be raided by these pple who will be controlling you and using you as a mole. For more infor, visit the FBI website and read about internet fraud, be warned!

  14. excellent spirit in you,keep on the good works

    1. Thanks bro, lets do this!!

  15. i give you your props yung lad uve gon bigggg now……awesome staff

    1. Thank you for the support and for helping our young leaders find that celestial fire, the consuming desire to want to change the world, the spirit of entrepreneurship.

  16. Great work Takunda…..this is extraordinary!

    1. Thanx bro, its time for us to take it to the next level, they should know…that we are here!!! And that africa is not a country,

  17. congraz bro..this is awesome

  18. Way to go bro,very unfortunate tht e party is against such ideas.Its a pity

  19. you go bro!!!!! keep the fire burning

  20. Tendai B Sambaza

    Great works bro. Proud of you. Born successful. Best wishes in all you be doing. May the Lord lead you!

  21. Well done young man. Keep it up!!!!! Always remember to thank and praise God.

  22. Exactly what our great country needs-BRAINS!Lets there be more youths with such ambitions,not sex,drugs,alcohol,crime.we also need more young innovative brains to bring out the immense potential our country has.keep it up tkay.

  23. Tafadzwa Benson

    #saisai…#hapinessIsFreeWifi….discovering endless possibilities keep it up man….

  24. Impressed Takunda!kip it up!

  25. #thinking in other terms and aspiring for greater heights….. nice work…… ###all the best

  26. Beautiful…these are the young people my country needs..giving back to one’s country through the knowledge one has gained oversees!! Proud of you man!!

  27. This is tremendously superior to the average.GOD bless Takunda!!

  28. Wow gud tk we are proud of you

  29. Wow gud tk we are proud of you

    keep the ball rolling

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