Four winners have been selected in the inaugural #YouthConnektZim Covid-19 Prevention and Response Virtual Start-Up Tour Bus competition.
Each of the four winners will receive funding and long-term business incubation at IBUHUB to help improve their overall business skills and expand their enterprises.
First place was awarded to Junior Bakasa, owner of OV Products Ltd which manufactures hand sanitisers certified by the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ), Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and detergents. OV Products Ltd is also providing decontamination and deep cleaning services for surfaces.
“We believe that by producing cost effective detergents and PPE we can equip everyone with the tools they need to effectively fight the coronavirus” said Bakasa.
In second place was Jessica Chivinge, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Epione.net, a web-based platform which connects users to Covid-19 health services such as patient symptom tracking.
Kudakwashe Mlambo of Digital Kiota Play n Learn came in third with his online educational platform which is providing students with educational content during the pandemic, and fourth place was awarded to Elton Mudariki of Tippy Tap, a foot operated hand washing device.
The four finalists were selected following an intense selection and judging process which began in April 2020.
Almost 200 applications were received from all over Zimbabwe, with shortlisted participants being invited to take part in a virtual bootcamp session before the final pitch.
The bootcamp was conducted with support from FT Consulting who led the pitch training and the African Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) who gave insight into intellectual property issues.
The final pitching session took place virtually with a panel of judges from various sectors in Zimbabwe:
- Dr Lance Mambondiani, Managing Director Banc ABC Zimbabwe and CEO of ABC Holdings Zimbabwe
- Anne Madzara, Team Leader, Poverty Reduction, Environment and Climate Change Unit at UNDP Zimbabwe
- Natalie Jabangwe, Founding Advisor and Interim Chairperson IBUHUB
- Dr Tunde Adegboyega, Senior Public Health Expert, World Health Organisation Zimbabwe
- Dr Eve Gadzikwa, Director General, Board Company Secretary and Accounting Officer, Standards Association of Zimbabwe
- Constantine Nyanzero, Chairman Connected Sahara, Enterprise and Business Development Specialist
- Chipo Chihunda(Honorary Judge), Entrepreneur, National Start-Up Tour Bus Winner 2019
Making opening remarks during the final pitch event, UNDP Resident Representative, Georges van Montfort stated that he was impressed with the quality of innovations which had been submitted and reiterated the importance of the involvement of young people in such initiatives to enhance development in the country and region overall.
This was supported by Hon. Kirsty Coventry Minister of Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation who said – ‘All of the young people who have taken part in the event today are an inspiration and the Youth Connekt platform is just the first step to many opportunities.”
This year’s competition will also provide incubation support at IBUHUB to at least 50 participants from both editions of the Start-Up Tour Bus helping them develop their ideas into sustainable businesses.
The Youth Connekt Start-Up Tour Bus initiative is in its second year with this being the first year it has gone virtual.
Youth Connekt Zimbabwe is being implemented through a partnership led by the Ministry of Youth Arts and Recreation (MoYSAR) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Zimbabwe.
The virtual Start-Up Tour Bus was implemented with support from UNDP Zimbabwe Accelerator Labs, Banc ABC, IBUHUB, the World Health Organisation, the Standards Association of Zimbabwe, Masawara Holdings, FT Consulting and ARIPO.