STARTUP TOUR BUS
innovation on wheels
The 2019 StartUp Tour Bus was the first initiative under the Youth Connekt Zimbabwe banner. Over a 5 week period, the bus travelled to all 10 of the country’s Provinces in search of Zimbabwe’s most innovative youth-owned businesses. The tour reached over 1,000 young people from 33 districts, both rural and urban and helped to raise awareness of the Youth Connekt Zimbabwe initiative. Spending 2 days in each Province, the 12 tour bus partners provided an intensive package of business training alongside a Provincial pitch competition. Provincial winners then won start-up capital for their businesses as well as the opportunity to participate in the national finals which were preceded by a winner’s bootcamp.
THE JOURNEY OF A THOUSAND STARTUPS STARTS WITH ONE BUS
It is not about winning, it’s not about losing, it’s about showing up and being seen.” This statement couldn’t be more accurate for the immense number of entrepreneurs that showed up to pitch their ideas/businesses at each one of our 10 stops across the country. In each province, the first day focused on business trainings including Entrepreneurship 101, Financial Inclusion, The Art of the Pitch, Niche Businesses, Bookkeeping and so much more. The amount of individuals that came to us after the business trainings alone to relate their positive experiences was overwhelming.
startup tour bus
How Did We Do it?
Over 100 individuals showed up for the trainings in each province. Those who did not pitch or win were able to connect with each other and to potential customers. In fact, many of the entrepreneurs made sales at the venue and gained repeat customers as well. Youth Connekt seeks to provide “youth with the skills, networks and information needed to scale their initiatives and gain meaningful employment”. We can safely say that the Start-up Tour Bus was a great start.
The next and last day in each province saw 10 chosen start-ups battle it out for the coveted US$5,000 towards their businesses. The group of entrepreneurs was diverse, ranging from green energy, fin-tech, agri-tech to food processing and manufacturing. They key element we were in search of was innovation. When the winner was revealed, we were inspired by the camaraderie and great sportsmanship exhibited by those that did not win. They were all inspired to move forward and ready to go implement changes within their own organisations.
The National Finals
The Start-up Tour Bus Finals was held at the Celebration Centre on the 6 th of September 2019. The winners from each province went through a 3-day bootcamp at Impact Hub Harare to prepare for the final pitch. The judging panel included successful entrepreneurs and business people from diverse industries including Joseph Bunga, Lance Mambondiani, Eve Gadzikwa, Jacqueline Hussein and Kuda Musasiwa. After an intense day of pitching, judging and fun, Chipo Chihunda became the first Start-up Tour Bus Youth Connekt winner. She creates roofing tiles and paving slabs from plastic waste and river sand proving, once again, that Zimbabwean women have what it takes to compete on the global stage.