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Old Mutual business innovation competition begins – The Zimbabwe Mail

Samuel Matseteke, CEO of Old Mutual Group

HARARE – Old Mutual’s Eight2Five innovation center partners with the British Council and embassy for the 2024 value creation challenge.

Old Mutual’s Eight2Five Innovation Center 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 and aims to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. The VCC provides a comprehensive support system for promising business innovations, including expert mentorship, personalized 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, directly contributing to transforming SMEs into major economic contributors,” Matsekete said.

Matsekete highlighted the success of last year’s challenge, noting that more than 1,200 applications were received and 533 proposals were completed. Featured startups included Farmbuzz, an agricultural technology company that uses drone technology, and Taxpal, a regulatory technology innovation that uses artificial intelligence for tax filing. These startups address local and regional challenges and have potential for broader market impact.

Looking ahead 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 end-to-end support to move ideas from concept to market-ready solutions.

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

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

VCC4 is also dedicated to fostering an inclusive and diverse business ecosystem by recognizing and supporting women entrepreneurs. By encouraging female participation, the program addresses the gender gap in entrepreneurship, with the goal of creating equal opportunities for women to succeed in their businesses.

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 keynote events and demo days, participants gain unparalleled business exposure and visibility. The impact of the program was recently highlighted at the 2024 Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), where startups from the previous challenge were showcased. VCC alumni also take part in major events such as the British Council’s Creative Economy Week.

To register for the Value Creation Challenge 2024, visit Eight2Five’s social media pages or its website at www.eight2five.co.zw and take the opportunity to turn your business dreams into reality.

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