Old Mutual, Zimbabwe’s leading financial services provider in partnership with British Council launched the Value Creation challenge on 1st August 2019 at Three Anchor House in Harare.
The Value Creation Challenge is a nationwide competition aimed at supporting ideas that provide innovative and sustainable solutions to socio-economic challenges.
Speaking at the launch dubbed “Eight2Five Value Creation Challenge”, Old Mutual Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Jonas Mushosho said the journey towards the initiative started about 10 years ago when the financial services provider decided to tap into the ideas of its young employees in creating value for the business.
“We found the initiative very valuable that in 2016, the group partnered Udugu Institute to create B2C, a co-working space and incubator at one of our properties. There have been success stories from the space including Golix (a bitcoin trading platform) and 263 chat (a social media Company). Old Mutual was largely a silent partner in the initiative.
“The success of the partnership emboldened us to create a new entity called Eight2Five that focuses on driving innovation in existing industry and creating new enterprises. Eight2Five will run innovation challenges, incubate new ideas, accelerate and grow new businesses, provide co-working spaces, among other things,” Mr. Mushosho said.
He said the ‘Value Creation Challenge’ marks the first major event being carried out by Eight2Five. As a customer centric organisation, Old Mutual customers and shareholders believe in the company’s ability to create value.
“Consumers are changing, technology is changing and the competition is changing, so companies need to keep refreshing their customer proposition to stay relevant and competitive. The economic future of the nation needs investment in value creation and sustainable home grown solutions. This must not be taken as a luxury but as a key cog in the turnaround of the economy. With the headwinds that we are currently facing as a nation the time has come for business to have a voice that speaks innovation and progress for the entire nation. What better time to innovate and inspire than now.
“Old Mutual has been in Zimbabwe for over a century, forming unbreakable bonds with the people of this nation. While we have a number of areas where we have made considerable impact being a Responsible Business, we are excited at the opportunities the Value Creation Challenge will bring to the organisation and participants as a whole. This initiative and the other initiatives that Eight2Five will run are not only focused on creating a future for Old Mutual, but for other companies and the economy at large. We therefore invite everyone in this room to stay close to what is happening here and to partner us in the work that Eight2Five will do.”
The British Council partnered with Eight2Five on the Value Creation Challenge to promote entrepreneurship and excellence. Mr. Mushosho said Old Mutual strives to help its customers thrive by enabling them to achieve their lifetime financial goals.
“Old Mutual is fully committed to supporting the development and growth of the Zimbabwean economy. The Value Creation Challenge is more than just a competition, in our view this is the founding block of future big business which will lead to wholesome economic growth for the nation. When I reflect on the hard times that have befallen our motherland, I believe we have choices to make.
“We can choose to pity ourselves and look helplessly as we continue to slide into abyss. We can continue to lament and invite obituaries of renowned icons and old business models in our business world that have succumbed and collapsed in the face of the unrelenting storms that have hit us. Alternatively we can dare to dream of a new future. Like the proverbial Phoenix, we can rebuild a glorious future on the ashes of the massive desolation that confronts us. There is no charge for dreaming,” he added.
The financial guru said a country blessed with a large population of young, talented and well educated young people is not poor since they are the very essence and foundation of the new world if their creative potential can be harnessed, nurtured and unleashed.
Old Mutual has positioned itself as a customer centric organisation in a market where the consumer has so many choices. It sees customer centricity as a journey, not a destination. Consumers are changing, as is technology and the competition.
Speaking at the same occasion, Roland Davies, British Council Country Director, said that arts was central to what his organisation does in the world and in Zimbabwe there was strong potential in terms of creativity.
“We see the opportunity and the need for the arts to support a growing economy. And particularly amongst young people, the creative economy, that includes traditional and contemporary art forms such as web design, publishing, gaming, animation, offers the possibility of people being able to earn a living,” Mr Davies said.
Old Mutual believes that creating shared values within societies is the most sustainable way to improve livelihoods in the long term. “Data driven solutions will help address socio-economic issues and improve society as a whole. This journey starts with transformation of how we do business through digital solutions, accessing skills, technically assisting each other in our communities,” the financial services provider says.
The Value Creation Challenge is open to Zimbabwean citizens between the ages 18 to 35 years. Applicants can submit their applications from 1st August 2019 till 13 September 2019 on the dedicated value challenge website. The project entries will be evaluated fairly by a team of specialists in the business, innovation, incubation and start-up space.
The top ten winners of the challenge will receive business support, mentoring, and rent free office space for a period of six months.
In addition, the top three winners selected by a panel of jury members will receive seed capital for their ideas.