In a bid to promote tech startups, the government of Zimbabwe has availed a $25 million innovation fund. The fund is sourced mainly from local Mobile Network Operators and availed through the Ministry of ICT, Postal and Courier services. The fund will be administered by the ICT regulatory body POTRAZ. This is a much welcome initiative for tech startups. One of the most important yet difficult things for any startup is financing. With the African tech scene growing so fast, Zimbabwean techies are finding themselves playing catch up due to economic challenges. This renders any form of support from government or corporate sector extremely vital.
Bulawayo innovation fund pitch night
43 tech startups thronged Holiday Inn Bulawayo to battle it out in the innovation fund pitch night on the 14 of September. Government officials and members of the corporate sector were part of the stakeholders that graced the event. The Minister of ICT, Postal and Courier service Hon. Supa Mandiwanzira hosted the historic event. The Bulawayo event was to cater for innovators from Bulawayo, Matebeleland North, Matebeleland South, Midlands and Masvingo.
Harare innovation fund pitch night
The Harare innovation innovation showcase will be held on Wednesday the 28th of September from 1500-2200 hrs at Rainbow Towers. Just like the Bulawayo pitch night, it is a pre-event to the introduction of the innovation fund. The Harare event will cater for innovators from Harare, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central and Manicaland.
Register for the innovation showcase
For all budding techno-preneurs who want to showcase their innovations, the Harare event is open for registration. The event is for all innovators in Harare and Mashonaland. The age restriction for showcasing at the event is up to 40 years. To register you can call the following numbers:
0716 999 999, 0772 194 999, 0714 999 999 and 0772 198 999. You can also register with PORTRAZ by emailing email@example.com or by following the links below:
Individuals please register to showcase here- INDIVIDUAL REGISTRATION
Groups please register to showcase here – GROUP REGISTRATION
What we think
It’s been a long time coming for the Zimbabwe government. One of the most important things for the tech scene to grow and yield meaningful results is policy and finance. Government needs to support innovators through favourable policies and financial support. Such support will help strengthen the position of startups locally, regionally and internationally. Countries like Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa have proven what government support means for tech startups.
In a nutshell, kudos to the ICT ministry for a job well done!