Entrepreneurs make final pitch in Old Mutual Value Creation Challenge

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By STAFF REPORTER
The Value Creation Challenge (VCC), a nationwide competition powered by Old Mutual Zimbabwe in partnership with the British Council held its 2021 edition final pitch on February 10, 2022 at the Eight2five Innovation Hub in Jason Moyo Avenue.

The VCC forms part of Old Mutual Zimbabwe’s mission to make an impact in the communities it operates in.

In this light, the group has been innovative in finding ways to develop and support budding entrepreneurs.

“At Old Mutual Zimbabwe, entrepreneurship is an important core pillar of our responsible business strategy. We are committed to supporting small businesses so that they realise their aspirations to grow. The VCC continues its quest and has attained significant milestones to contribute to national development through employment creation opportunities in the communities we operate in,” Lillian Mbayiwa, the marketing, public affairs and sustainability executive at Old Mutual, said.

Young people aged between 18 and 40 from across the country pitched their ideas under the following pillars: Digital Communication, Young and Funky, Climate Change, Emerging Technology and Data Analytics, culminating in five contestants at the final pitch.

The final contestants were chosen during a two-day virtual pitch event held on September 29 and 30, 2021 and were awarded US$8 000 each in seed funding as they entered the accelerator  programme for their businesses. These finalists include Eyellow Digital Network — Gary Ruwona (Digital Content Creation), RAW Dried Fruit — Ruddy Makoni (Young and Funky), Mantis Coffee — Alfred Manyara (Climate Action), Nhanga Trust — Chipo Chikomo (Climate Action), and Msindazwe Ndhlovu — Noble Savage.

They appeared before a panel of judges comprising Mbayiwa, Linda Mariwande (Old Mutual Life Assurance Company business development manager), Davies Musoso (Old Mutual Investment Group head of alternative investments), Roland Davies (British Council country director) and Farai Ncube (Head of Arts South Africa and Cultural Exchange SSA Region British Council).

The judges were given a board pack with details of each of the participant’s business and performance over the last three months ahead of the final pitch.

The board pack was used to ask questions and determine viability of the business.

This board pack and a recommendation from Stimulus Africa, based on the business performance during the accelerator programme formed 50% weighting of the final score.

The overall winner Noble Savage — Msindazwe Ndhlovu (Climate Action) received an additional US$10 000 to further capacitate his business.

Sam Matsekete, group chief executive at Old Mutual Zimbabwe, said: “This challenge was designed out of an identified need for capacity building for entrepreneurs making a meaningful impact in their value chains. We believe in long-term value creation within our society to improve livelihoods sustainably into the future.”

He added: “Participants have been presenting innovative and data-driven solutions that we believe will help address socio-economic issues and improve the society. This journey starts with the transformation of how we do business and involves digital solutions, accessing expert skills and leveraging other collaborative efforts in our communities.”

Noble Savage is a business that recycles plastic waste and glass to manufacture eco-friendly building materials which are lighter, stronger, durable and affordable. It makes roof tiles, pavers, countertops and have prototyped a solar roof tile.

The founder, Msindazwe Ndhlovu, said: “I am really excited about winning and I still can’t believe it, but I want to say thank you to Old Mutual and British Council for programmes such as these. VCC has really helped my business grow and thank you for asking me the hard questions about my business because as a result I am better prepared for the next growth phase of my endeavour.”

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