The top 10 business ideas in the 2019 Value Creation Challenge have been announced in Harare. These were selected after a rigorous pitching process before a panel of distinguished judges at the Eight2Five Innovation Hub in the capital.
The Value Creation Challenge, through a partnership between Old Mutual Zimbabwe and British Council, is a nationwide competition aimed at supporting ideas that provide innovative and sustainable solutions to socio-economic challenges.
The successful contestants are: Age X, Asambe Mobility, Bespoke Delights, Innoregar, Nezox, Noble Savage, Shift Organics, Sikamara Oil, The Sous Chef and JMP Africa.
The winners announced at a glittering ceremony were selected from the top 25 business ideas drawn from across Zimbabwe under 5 pillars, namely, Young and Funky, Climate Action, Creative Economy, Data Analytics and Emerging Technologies.
The panel of judges included Chipo Kanyumbu, from the British Council, businessman Bongai Zamchiya, and from Old Mutual, ICT Executive, Setoboli Ketsibile, Isabel Nyarota, General manager Finance, Eunice Mujekenyeki, Chief Risk Officer, Victor Chisiri, Head of IT Security, Golix CEO, Tawanda Kembo and Yemisi Mokuolu of Hatch Ideas. They were drawn from diverse sectors, among them IT Security experts, CEOs, managers, Chief Risk Officers and business directors
The Competition is the culmination of an exciting journey for the innovation competition that began at the launch earlier this year where Group CEO of Old Mutual, Mr Jonas Mushosho said that the Value Creation Challenge is more than just a competition, but the founding block of future big business which will lead to wholesome economic growth for Zimbabwe.
For their part, the partner in the innovation challenge, British Council, represented by Country Director, Roland Davies, identified the arts as central to what the organisation supports in the world and in Zimbabwe there was strong potential in terms of creativity.
Chipo Kanyumbu, British Council project manager who was also part of the panel of 7 judges said that they were looking for creative and innovative ideas that are fresh as well as cutting edge.
“We were looking for business ideas that bring value to the creative ecosystem, a primary focus of British Council in this competition and were most of our work in the community. We would like to see ideas that come out of this experience being of benefit to the community as well as ensuring that the creative sector is recognised as a valid and solid industry,” she said.
The judges interviewed found the experience to be eye-opening and were impressed by the variety and quality of the business ideas presented in the pitches.
For budding entrepreneurs, they said that the contestants had the right qualities that included clarity, confidence and the ability to clearly articulate their ideas. Even with those that presented what seemed to have been done before, the degree of novelty is what made them different.
This was due in part to the two-day boot camp that the contestants attended prior to the judging run in conjunction with Hitch Ideas Worldwide and Stimulus Africa.
The participants of the Value Creation Challenge, who run companies in their own right, all agreed that the intensive programme that took them through the paces on how to pitch their business ideas to potential investors and scale their businesses was of immense benefit.
The Value Creation Challenge is a competition open to Zimbabwean citizens between the ages 18 to 35 years. Applicants had to submit their applications on the dedicated value challenge website. The project entries were then evaluated by a team of specialists in the business, innovation, incubation and start-up space.
The value creation challenge marks the first major event being carried out by Eight2Five, a business hub that Old Mutual, British Council and their partners have set up to drive innovation in existing industry, create as well as incubate new enterprises and provide co-working spaces, among other business support services.
This is where the top ten winners of the challenge will receive business support, mentoring, and rent free office space for a period of six months during an incubation period. From this group, the top three winners selected by a panel of jury members will receive seed capital to accelerate and grow their business ideas.