On July 1, 2017 Impact Hub Harare held the Accelerate2030 National Pitch Event in collaboration with 17 other countries worldwide in the Impact Hub Global Community. The competition is for growth stage enterprises addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The programme was initiated by Impact Hub Geneva and the UNDP in 2016. Accelerate2030 is a platform aimed at supporting and promoting the most promising impact-driven ventures across the globe.
The most promising ventures across the 17 countries have the opportunity to be invited to the A2030 Scaling Week in Geneva this October. Participants taking part in the scaling bootcamp will receive tailored scaling support focusing on the relevant needs of each venture. Seven amazing entrepreneurs took the opportunity to awaken the Zimbabwean community to the talent, innovation and change making taking place locally.
Below are the superstars who pitched and their respective businesses.
Brain Chatterton from Quick Online Reference
First up was Brian Chatterton of Quick Online Reference, a team seeking to transform and fill in the gaps in today’s education system. In order to avoid learning experiences where students must simply regurgitate what the teacher has said, Brian and his team have developed a digital learning system aiming to create a balance between problem areas subject to the student and content creation by the teacher. Students sync their schoolwork on digital devices e.g. computers, tablets and phones,after the teacher has generated the necessary content. When students are at home they create questions in relation to the content. Finally the students and teacher will link their devices and analyse the content and questions to identify the problem areas of each student.
Pascal Nyasha from Agrk
Pascal Nyasha of Agrk swayed the crowd as he described how his venture aims to integrate precision technology e.g. satellites, drones and mobile devices to generate accurate data that will assist smallholder farmers to increase their yields, share ideas and connect them to buyers. Farmers can request for precision data, market information, weather data, sector news, extension consultations and connect with buyers through an instant messenger application and SMS short code. Agrk is set out to revolutionise agriculture and food production systems.
Wilford Mwanza from FordOlutions
Wilford Mwanza of FordOlutions made it clear from the get go that they were out to spearhead the fourth industrial revolution in Zimbabwe. Automation of various industrial sectors in Zimbabwe will help bridge the gap between technical and non-technical personnel, improve efficiency in production and solve the challenges of energy shortage. The first arm is on education and subsequent partnerships. There is need to train state officials, and leaders in government and private sector in many countries on the African continent on the fourth industrial revolution. Wilford asserts that partnering with these key stakeholders to implement automation solutions will yield positive results. Additionally FordOlutions aims to foster global networks to create intra-continental partnerships to promote intra-African trade and development.
David Chifunyise from Guardian
Next up was David Chifunyise of Guardian. The screen lit up with a red panic button illustrated with the word HELP! Could this have been the lifesaving moment for David Chifunyise as he went on to explain how the Guardian app aimed to connect every citizen to emergency services at the touch of a button?Low and medium income earners are granted access to efficient emergency services using mobile phones and wearable technology. Accessing emergency services like ambulances and rapid response is out of reach of ordinary citizens in Zimbabwe and it is also inefficient when it comes to response times, a call being anything from 45 minutes to 2 hours.
Kudzanai Chitiva from Natfort Energy
Kudzanai Chitiva certainly had the judges energised as he stood to make the mark for Natfort Energy. Addressing the challenge of energy poverty, Natfort Energy is striving to provide clean sustainable energy to businesses and marginalised communities, as energy is a key contributor in economic growth. The company has built exceptional technical capabilities and sound business skills. It is their firm belief that taking their business a notch higher by offering a more innovative approach to solar energy delivery will enable Natfort Energy to reach a greater number of businesses affected by energy poverty and insecurity. The leaders of Natfort Energy think globally and embrace the idea that a business should not be limited by geographical borders. It is through this notion that the venture aims to positions itself regionally setting a target to extend their services to three other African countries in the next five years. Locally conceived and developed solutions are at the core of Natfort Energy as they continue working to promote and develop such a culture in locally based business.
Priscah Mufunde from The Maker Club
Priscah Mufunde stood out as she was the only female participant to pitch. Priscah Mufunde forerunner of The Maker Club had the judges enthused, setting out strongly why The Maker Club has what it takes to lead young children and involve them in the innovation creation process. The Maker Club is empowering young children by exposing them to unique challenges, requiring innovative solutions through functional and practical STEAM based principles. In most cases learning has become more about impressing an examiner rather than about empowering learners with information that can practically change their lives. This disconnection has led to a generation of school leavers and young graduates that have impressive certificates but are incapable of using the information they have learnt to generate relevant ideas, services or products that can impact their lives and communities.
Jonah Chimusoro from Victory Farms
Experience goes a long way, Jonah Chimusoro had a special pitch up his sleeve, enough to convince the judges why Victory Farms is a game changer. Victory Farms has worked to ease the production costs of smallholder farmers by building low cost bio digesters for slurry digestion. This is a clean alternative and sustainable energy source that is highly beneficial if integrated in various farming systems. Integrating such a system is likely to increase farm profit through the use of Biogas Plant Residues for the great nutritional benefit derived from farm slurry processed through anaerobic digestion. A farmer is able to assess the likely cost savings on its use as a fertilizer (fertilizer value or the ‘fertilizer replacement value’). There is great need for innovative sustainable farming methods as global population rises,so too does the demand rise for farmers to produce adequate food at lower costs.
The seven movers had certainly shaken the crowd by the end of the event. The room was filled with an overdose of inspiration, idea sharing and a deep sense of connectivity as the audience broke into profound discussions.
As the dimly illuminated crispy night passed, the moment we all had been waiting for finally arrived. The judges began to deliberate and ruminate on the three ventures that would be announced as national finalists. Nhena Nyagura, CEO of Dandemutande, and a member of the judging trio took stage to announce the three national finalists. Pascal Nyasha, Priscah Mufunde and Jonah Chimusoro. These finalists stood side by side for a moment in the spotlight was saturated by camera flashes and loud cheers.
After all was said and done the National Accelerate2030 Pitch was a memorable and highly rewarding event. Thank you to Dandemutande, UNDP Zimbabwe and Kelli Schindelegger for making the event a huge success.
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