The turn up at the ICT Fund Harare showcase was massive. The event held at the Rainbow Towers in Harare attracted both seasoned and newbie tech innovators from Harare, Manicaland and the Mashonaland provinces. The event precedes the launch of the $25 million ICT innovation fund from the Ministry of ICT, Postal and Courier services. The Harare event follows a successful Bulawayo event held a few weeks back.
Harare Metropolitan Provincial Minister Miriam Chikukwa was guest of honor. The minister mentioned how important it was to nurture a culture of innovation. Innovators were encouraged not to give up on their work because of failure. An example was given of Takunda Chingonzo the founder of Tech Village. Chingonzo is said to have tried more than 18 failed projects before he succeeded in building one of the most vibrant tech hubs in the country.
The event had innovators exhibiting their products and services and the public voting for their favorite. The top 6 innovators from the polls had to pitch and 3 winners chosen. the top 6 were Road rules, Hwindi, iamsuccess, Protonics, Academy Report and Shift Organics Technologies. These innovators where each give 5 minutes to pitch and the audience given time for questions. George Chingore stole the show with his Protonics airtime vending machine. The young innovator received loud cheers from the audience as he pitched.
The winners of the ICT Fund Harare showcase were Road rules in 3rd position, Protonics in 2nd and Shift Organic Technologies in 1st. The winners each walked away with various prizes including laptops, internet dongles, solar devices, phones and many more.
What we think
The initiative as we have mentioned before on this platform is fantastic. Government support structures are the elementary building blocks for a successful innovation ecosystem. The ICT Fund showcase presented a great opportunity for innovators and investors. The networking at the event was just priceless. However, we feel the event could have had a much more organized structure. The voting system was terrible and could prejudiced some innovators.
Overall, the ICT Fund is a fabulous initiative and we cannot wait for its announcement. We hope it will be sooner than later!