The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority Of Zimbabwe (Potraz), is set to announce the first batch of the top 10 projects that will be receiving financial support under the ICT innovation drive fund.
By Toneo T Rutsito
Speaking to TechnoMag, Potraz Director General Mr Gift Machengete said they are now ready to fund projects under the innovation drive, as they have completed the adjudication process which saw 188 applications for the initial call for entries, early this year.
Funding will be disbursed this year to the rightful beneficiaries which are likely to be announced before the week ends if they are no glitches, as the innovation drive awaits official launching.
Machengete said all was on course as the adjudicators have completed their assessment and submitted their findings for evaluation.
“I can confirm that the adjudicators have completed their work of assessing the applications and have submitted their findings, We now need to review as we plan towards the launching the fund hopefully before this year ends if everything moves according to plan” said Machengete.
The Potraz boss said the innovation drive will be a revolving funding , which will be looking at funding competent projects with a capacity to repay the loans and allow other applicants to benefit from it thereof.
Potraz will also help the adjudication process from a financial perspective on how feasible and relevant the amounts requested are against a suggested turn around period while they appreciated that the projects will not all bare fruits at the same season.
“Besides just allocating funding, we will also allocate mentors and provide financial advice to those who have been awarded the funding, bearing in mind we need this money to be repaid as it is revolving fund to benefit other new applicants as well” he added.
On the actual list of first beneficiaries and total amounts to be issued, the Director-General said that the full list will be made available immediately after finalization of all due processes before the year ends.
Mr Machengete, however, added that those who did not make to the first batch that will be announced will receive responses on a recommendation on how best to polish or restructure their projects so that they become viable, and will be asked to resubmit the applications.
The Ministry of ICT has put aside a total of $7 million for the funding and many young innovators are expected to benefit as they seek capitalization towards their existing and green projects as well.
The government hopes to drive the growth of local technologies that can then be exported, or at least cut on the importation budget, when we have locally able young players.