The Zimbabwe Tech Scene really came alive in 2016. There was a lot of action in the tech innovation circles and that is very very encouraging. To round up the year I thought I would do a walk through of the major highlights, both the good and the bad.
Zimbabwe Tech Scene Highlights 2016
Zimbabwe Innovators’ Fund
Great initiative to kickstart local ICT innovators. The two functions held in Bulawayo and Harare were for the greater part a success. Let’s hope there is a follow through to the fund. Local tech startups need the money.
STEM students’ visit the Silicon Valley
High School students from around the country were sent to Silicon Valley to tour some of the biggest tech companies of all time including Google, Microsoft, and Twitter among other. Wow!
The first ever WordCamp conference to be held in Zimbabwe. Developers, bloggers, and enthusiasts came together for a very insightful event..and an afterparty.
Global Entrepreneurship week
George Chingore, one of the popular figures in the tech innovators circles scooped an award at the ITU Telecom World awards. George is the founder of Protonics and has made waves on the local scene with his airtime vending machine.
One of my favorite reality TV shows of 2016. While the show was not primarily a tech startup show, most of the pitches on the show were very techie. A number of startups have since benefited from the show including Road Rules app. Looking forward to season 2 of the show.
One of the biggest opportunities for startups all over the world. 10 startups battled it out at the SEEDSTARS Harare event with Dr CADx coming out tops. The world championships will be held in and Dr CADx will stand a chance to win 1 million in seed funding
Road Rules app
One startup that continues to rise. The year saw Tawanda Chikosi, the CEO of the Road Rules app sign an MOU with the traffic council of Zimbabwe. Kudos.
CBZ Youth Entrepreneurship Program
CBZ went around the country teaching entrepreneurship and giving small seed capital. While the program was not limited to tech startups, it was a great opportunity for techies to learn and possibly grab a couple of dollars to enhance their ideas.
Steward Bank Incubation Pod
I work at the Incubation Pod every Friday for a number of reasons. Free Wi-Fi, coffee and entrepreneurial motivation. Great place for techies to learn about entrepreneurship. Did I mention the free Wi-Fi and coffee?
Parliament of Zimbabwe Live Blog
After gaining much popularity on national television, the Zimbabwe parliament decided to take to the internet with a live blog. Not bad at all.
Zimbabwe Innovators’ Fund
I’ve already mentioned it to be a great initiative. The problem is the money didn’t quite come in the time it was announced to come. We hope to see some tech startups benefit from the fund in 2017.
One thing I could never overemphasize is how startups need to protect their ideas. Intellectual Property protection is a critical part of any innovator’s work. It is still unclear as to whether the ministry of education stole the form 1 online registration system or not. Whatever the outcome, all innovators and startups should take heed.
Hypercube closing down
Not exactly in 2016 but end of 2015. Hypercube shut its doors in a rather disappointing and sad manner. It seems the are efforts to at least revive what’s left of the Hypercube community. We hope for the best.
Strange things happen. It is no big secret that ZBC is content starved so when they announced a content deal with Econet Media we all rejoiced, then shed tears when ZBC decided to terminate the deal. They didn’t quite give a solid reason by the way.
You cannot talk about the Zimbabwean tech scene without mentioning TechZim. Well, the guys have decided to go premium and focus on the business. I will miss some of those brutal articles. Sigh.