Innovation Baraza Nominates 5 Of 40 Zim Innovators

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Five out of forty start up exhibitors are set to benefit from the recently held Innovation fair, Innovation Baraza which was pioneered by The Udugu Institute in partnership with the United States Embassy.

The event which saw corporate and Zimbabwe government support was officially opened by permanent Secretary in the Ministry of ICT Eng S Kundishora and also attracted a number of private corporates that include among others Telone, B Matanga and Associates, CBZ and Hisense amongst others.

By Shyline Guvakuva

The top five innovators will have the opportunity to meet a number of both local and international innovators at the esteemed Simba Savannah Investors Forum .

The top five in no particular order were The Nerd Machine, Maround, eMkambo, Road Rules and Vigil.

eMkambo is an initiative which bridges the gap between farmers, products and the market without hassles , eMkambo deals with knowledge brokering in Agriculture, it links farmers from all parts of the country with specific information about a product, be it potential buyers, how to grow the product, how to improve the product as well as sharing ideas with farmers who already engage in that type of farming, “said an official.

She added that farmers subscribe through a bulk sms platform they have provided as well as the use call centres.

Maround just as the name implies is a nuclear platform where people who know and trust each other give one another a fixed amount of money on a monthly bases .This service will be accessible on all Zimbabwe’s mobile networks.

Asked where the money will be deposited, one of the officials said the money will just be transferred straight from the depositor’s mobile phone to that of the receiver at no cost.

The Ned Machine is an automated chicken feeder which has the capacity to hold about 1000 kg of chicken feed and has 2 feeding bowls which have a carrying capacity of 5kg.The machine is automated and uses solar energy to monitor the feeding bowls

Vigil is also another innovative idea which made it to the top five, it is a car washing mobile application where the user creates an account and book where and when they want their car washed,” said Mubaiwa an official.

Road rules an innovation by Tawanda Chikosi is a mobile application used for learning for a driver’s licences online. The application allows users to assess their progress before they sit for Vehicle Inspection Department [VID] provisional license test.

The selection criteria however raised a lot of eyebrows, let’s look at it this way. Most of the projects that were in the top five are those projects that have already gained recognition from well-established innovators. Vigil is already being sponsored by Hisense, eMkambo has made great partnerships with the Government, Road rules is already in conjunction with the International Universities.

What boggles my mind is whether this was an open hunt for innovation or it was some pre-planned event? I feel the people who really needed the limelight are those who are still up and coming not the already established projects, because really, why would they need sponsorship when they are already on their feet.

The Innovation Fair was adjudicated by four judges who surveyed all the forty exhibitors’ stalls and came up with the top ten innovations which were later abridged to five.

The top five winners will have to present their business proposals at the Simba Savannah Investors Forum in October. This will be the opportunity for them to attract investors. So it’s now up to the top five to meet the October 2015 deadline.

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