Old Mutual’s entrepreneurship innovation competition begins

Samuel Matseteke, Old Mutual Group CEO
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HARARE – Old Mutual’s Eight2Five Innovation Hub Teams Up with British Council and Embassy for 2024 Value Creation Challenge.

Old Mutual’s Eight2Five Innovation Hub is partnering with the British Council and the British Embassy for the 2024 Value Creation Challenge (VCC4), a competition designed to find and support the most innovative business ideas from ambitious young entrepreneurs.

This annual challenge has become a fixture on Zimbabwe’s financial calendar, aimed at fostering innovation and entrepreneurship. The VCC provides a comprehensive support system for promising business innovations, including expert mentorship, bespoke training, invaluable resources, and networking opportunities. Participants connect with industry leaders, potential investors, and collaborative partners, enhancing their business acumen and refining their strategies.

At the launch of VCC4, Samuel Matsekete, CEO of Old Mutual Zimbabwe Group, emphasized the alignment of Eight2Five with the national agenda. “Eight2Five focuses on economic empowerment, job creation, and innovation, contributing directly to transforming SMEs into significant economic contributors,” Matsekete said.

Highlighting the success of last year’s challenge, Matsekete noted that over 1,200 applications were received, with 533 proposals completed. Standout startups included Farmbuzz, an agri-tech company using drone technology, and Taxpal, a regulatory tech innovation utilizing AI for tax filing. These startups address local and regional challenges and hold potential for broader market impact.

Looking forward to 2024, Old Mutual plans to expand the Value Creation Challenge to support emerging industries, sustainability, the creative sector, and advanced technological innovations. This expansion aims to attract more innovators and provide comprehensive support to move ideas from concept to market-ready solutions.

The challenge is open to early-stage startups with innovative prototypes and existing businesses with a minimum viable product (MVP), particularly those within their first two years of operation. VCC4 is particularly interested in businesses from emerging industries, innovative technology, the creative sector, and sustainability-focused ventures. Entrepreneurs from across Zimbabwe are encouraged to apply, ensuring inclusivity and broad participation.

To further this commitment, the Eight2Five team will conduct innovation clinics in Harare, Mutare, Masvingo, Gweru, and Bulawayo from May 20 to May 24. These clinics aim to reach entrepreneurs in various regions, ensuring wide accessibility to the challenge.

VCC4 is also dedicated to fostering an inclusive and diverse entrepreneurial ecosystem by recognizing and supporting women entrepreneurs. By encouraging female participation, the program addresses the gender gap in entrepreneurship, aiming to create equal opportunities for women to succeed in their ventures.

The Value Creation Challenge has been instrumental in nurturing entrepreneurial talent and driving sustainable economic growth in Zimbabwe. VCC4 aims to transform innovative prototypes into viable businesses by providing aspiring entrepreneurs with the necessary support, resources, platform, and market access.

One of the key benefits of VCC4 is its focus on providing market access. Through pitching events and demo days, participants gain unparalleled business exposure and visibility. The program’s impact was recently highlighted at the 2024 Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), where startups from the previous challenge were featured. VCC alumni also participate in significant events like the Creative Economy Week by the British Council.

To register for the 2024 Value Creation Challenge, visit the Eight2Five social media pages or their website at www.eight2five.co.zw, and seize the opportunity to turn your entrepreneurial dreams into reality.