Life after ACT…

 

Hello ACT Family!

We hope you’ve been having a busy couple of months either ideating, prototyping, pivoting,  iterating, building or running a startup! We have been busy too, working closely with our Alumni on their various initiatives. As some of you may know, The ACT program is not just a one-off event. It is  a long term relationship and commitment on our part to help our Alumni launch and scale their businesses. With November fast approaching, we hope our alumni are sprucing up and tweaking their pitch decks which they will submit for review. We were fortunate enough to catch up with some of the teams out in the field. Here is a quick rundown of what they have been up to.

Team MedFind

Our Pharmacists have made some great strides this last month. They managed to get a slot in the monthly Pharmaceutical wholesalers’ meeting, and also signed-up a few of the wholesalers and pharmacies for their pilot. Currently, the team is working on the development of their software application as well as other important components, like registering intellectual property, and building their customer database. Things look pretty promising for the team, and we wish them luck as they continue on their entrepreneurial journey. Some exciting news is that Medfind’s application is being developed by one of our ACT alumni, talk about collaborative brilliance!

 

Mambokadzi WildChild

We are glad to see Sharon and her team still hard at it, coming up with new formulations and products almost every month, winning the hearts of new customers and venturing into new markets. Your typical 21st century Vasco Da Gama! She has had a busy year, and we absolutely love what she has done with her brand; revamping their image and her approach to selling products- by using brand ambassadors. As we get into the last 3 months  of the year, Sharon will be releasing a couple more products for The Mambokadzi WildChild brand and aggressively marketing her whole range. Look out for her booth at some of the summer fairs, festivals and expos!

 

 

Appreciation Corner

Being an entrepreneur and staying focused can be rather difficult, especially after you factor in how hard it is to stay afloat in this economy. It takes a certain level of determination- remaining positive, persistent and productive, to get by! Our alumni are hard at work in their little corners getting their products out in the market. Some days are good, others not so good. These few individuals had their ‘good days’ this last month and we thought their notable achievements were worth mentioning:

Angela Mhaka–   Miss Angela, our youngest from the 2017 group, has been making waves in the startup circles! She got selected to participate in The Young Entrepreneurial Women’s hackathon- hosted by The IBU hub and The African Leadership Academy, and her team won! So they are now preparing for the annual ANZISHA prize fellowship and working on developing their product. As if that was not enough, she also got selected to take part in the Bulawayo CBZ Young Entrepreneurs’ Program, a program connecting promising startups with entrepreneurial skills, a network of mentors and business leaders, and funding for their businesses. Way to go Angela!

 

Evangelista Chekera– You will remember Evangelista from the Agrinnov8 (now GLETT) team yes? Well in the last 2 months, she has been working tirelessly to develop her slaughtering units for her Passion Poultry project. We went out into the field with her some weeks back, and got to test out her prototype with some small-scale, poultry farmers. We never imagined that there would come a time we would say we enjoyed slaughtering a chicken because the process was quick, effortless and clean! To add spice to the chicken, Evangelista is currently in negotiations with a large local stockfeeds  company that is interested in her slaughtering units; and it is  looking into distributing her products. Kudos to you Evangelista!

Noreen Mukora– If you listen to Star FM, one of our popular radio stations, during drive time; you are sure not to miss Noreen talking about their ‘Wear Zim, wear local’ campaign and her growing fashion startup, Chenesai. We love how she trudges along daily, blowing our minds with some of her unique and daring designs, and her inspirational fashion blog. You can imagine how excited we were when we found out that she had been selected to participate in the Nairobi Fashion Product Lab; a regional, 8 week programme targeting young Fashion startups in Africa. Program participants have access to tailored (pun intended) workshops, tools and industry experts; to develop and grow their businesses! Well done Noreen, fly the Zimbabwean and ACT flag high!

 

So that’s it for now folks! Be sure to read our blog and catch up with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Happy new month!

What’s in store for 2017…..

Greetings and Happy New Year ACT alumni, supporters, and followers! We hope that you are all well, rested, and ready to take on 2017 with vigor and optimism. We certainly are, and have a number of exciting new developments to share with you.

Before telling you about all our new initiatives, it is worth remembering that ACT began, in 2014, as a 3-day course that attracted an applicant pool of around 30 students. Fast forward to 2016, and our 2 week training program has attracted over 200 applicants. That’s a 366% growth rate in our curriculum and a 566% growth rate in our applicant pool over 3 years! While we are proud of our achievements, we will not rest until ACT is recognised throughout Africa as a center of excellence in entrepreneurship training. Our aim is very simple: to be the best.

Since the end of the 2016 program, we have been assisting our alumni in developing viable businesses, and are happy to report that 2 young ladies and 2 young men are close to launching their own companies. Mendy Lusaba is focusing on empowering women through a domestic workers’ training and placement scheme. Nyasha Maturure is working on addressing the accommodation challenges that students face on university campuses. Tafara Tobaiwa is developing a waste management business. And, lastly, a team constituted of three of our Alumni, Alec Musasa, Ibra Sururu and Anthony Chadokwenda, are using technology to help schools and their teachers better manage administrative challenges. Watch this space.

As our alumni will testify, ACT is unlike any entrepreneurship training program in Zimbabwe. We get our hands dirty. We sweat. We bleed. We cry. And we deliver. There is no secret to our recipe: we focus on quality above all else. We bring you the best coaches, deliver the best curriculum, and offer you the best chance of realising your entrepreneurial ambition. We don’t speak entrepreneurship. We do entrepreneurship. And this year ACT will continue to focus on inspiring, developing and supporting young Zimbabweans to pursue the entrepreneurial dream by delivering a number of exciting initiatives and activities.

First, we are very pleased to announce our partnership with the The African Leadership Academy (ALA) based in South Africa, with whom we will run a Youth Hackathon (for ages 15-22 only!) on 11 March 2017 that will prepare participants to apply for the globally recognised Anzisha Prize. Applications for the Youth Hackathon will be open in a few weeks. Register on our website to be notified when the admission process commences.

Second, please stay tuned for our main event, the 2017 ACT Entrepreneurship Program! This year’s program will run for 3 full weeks! The main addition to last year’s program is that we will run a corporate hackathon in collaboration with one of Zimbabwe’s most well known companies: watch this space to find out who! During the course of that extra week, our students will be using design thinking to try and solve some of the challenges the company faces, and will present their findings to the company’s senior team! We are extremely grateful to the company for its support and beyond excited to see what our students can do.

Finally, for our alumni, we will be running master classes in Intellectual Property, Leadership, how to deal with ZIMRA, and more!

This is going to be a huge year for Zimbabwean entrepreneurs!

Get in touch, register on our website so that you don’t miss out on any event, spread the entrepreneurial word, and, as always, please feel free to send us suggestions and feedback!

Thank you for your continued support, and see you soon.

The ACT Team

 

Welcome to the ACT Entrepreneurship Blog!

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Dear Readers,

 

Welcome to our new website and blog! We hope that you like it. The website was built to be compatible with all devices which will make it easy for you to access our resources anywhere and anytime.

Our website reflects our desire to build an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Zimbabwe to  fight unemployment and catalyze economic development. We hope that, as entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial ecosystem builders, you will connect and engage with us as we accomplish this mission together.

The ACT team has been developing support systems for entrepreneurs since 2013 and we have learnt a considerable amount. Henri, our Founder, is a progressive thinking Venture Capitalist with a passion for young people on the continent and has experience spanning Europe, North America and Africa. I, as the Program Coordinator, have been working with aspiring entrepreneurs in Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe for the past 4 years.

Based on what we have learnt, we aim to share new ideas, perspectives and tools that may be helpful in your entrepreneurial journey.  We will mainly be sharing stories of established and aspiring entrepreneurs, useful planning tools, opinions and news on the topic of entrepreneurship both in Africa and globally.

We look forward to engaging with you on some of the opportunities and challenges that young entrepreneurs face in Zimbabwe and in the region.

Take a moment to explore our new site, perhaps bookmark us, and be sure to check back regularly for more information about our training programs.  All feedback is welcome so we encourage you to leave your comments or email us with any suggestions.

 

Irene Chikumbo

Program Coordinator

hello@actinafrica.com