Participants attending the Value Creation Challenge boot camp in Harare are hopeful that they will make it into the top ten after the adjudication stage today. The innovation challenge is a competition that is being supported by a partnership between Old Mutual Zimbabwe and the British Council.
The objective of the competition is to drive innovative and sustainable solutions to the socio-economic challenges being experienced today. The boot camp involves an intensive two-day training of the contestants to prepare them on how to effectively pitch their business ideas.
The 25 shortlisted participants representing budding companies from across Zimbabwe relish the opportunity provided by the competition and look forward to pitching their ideas to an esteemed panel of judges.
One of the contestants is Alban Manjengwa, the co-founder of Blue Canary, a creative agency that connects businesses with their audiences and customers with the view to helping them meet their revenue targets. He said the boot camp has helped him gain the ability to define exactly what his company does and what their market is.
“We have initially struggled to create messages that reach prospective clients and this hampered our sales potential, making growth quite difficult. But this experience has enabled us to think critically and really identify who it is that we should be speaking to as well as the value we can really add,” Manjengwa said.
He added that he found several opportunities among those contesting who needed the services that his company is offering.
Another contestant who has used the boot camp as a ‘fishing pond’ for future business prospects is Joe Mtetwa from Rob Proctor, a data analytics company in Harare.
He says that the companies participating at the boot camp need to appreciate that the data they have is valuable in making business decisions. Data will be useful to them if it is properly analysed and explained.
“I have gained more knowledge and now appreciate the impact of upcoming businesses in a volatile business environment and economy. Winning the competition will ensure that our vision is achieved and will help the economy to change for the better,” he said
Yemisi Mokuolu, an award-winning social- entrepreneur who heads Hatch Ideas Worldwide, who with Stimulus Africa is part of the team of facilitators, believes that the contestants have what it takes to run profitable and impactful businesses in Zimbabwe.
“The contestants are very determined, and their ideas incredibly innovative and exciting. Apart from that, she believed they are very realistic. One of the things that I am most impressed about is that their ideas have a direct benefit for Zimbabwe,” said Ms Mokuolu.
“They are also determined to make sure that their ideas can create employment and also generate solid income not just for themselves but for their community. But also that their idea can support the country as a whole in its growth, she said.
Hatch Ideas Worldwide is a business development agency based in London, in the United Kingdom, that specialises in helping people develop their business ideas that have social or cultural impact.
They are partnering with Stimulus Africa to co-design and develop the Eight2Five Innovation Hub. This is an incubator that will host the 6-month training programme to support the top ten entrepreneurs whose innovative ideas will create social and economic change in Zimbabwe.
The Value Creation Challenge contestants pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges today and ten of the best will go forward to the next stage which is the 6 month incubation period.
At the end of that programme, 3 winning companies will receive financial, on-going business development support and mentorship from experts from both Zimbabwe and the United Kingdom.