Its almost a year now since government of Zimbabwe unveiled Innovation drive, a revolving fund for youths with various ICT programs, and the maximum target was to avail a total $25 million to jumpstart the industry.
The next months that proceeded, we clearly explained that the government of Zimbabwe had made available a total of $2.5 million for disbursement, setting the tone to roll out the funds, and to date 185 applicants responded.
What then boggles the mind is when one startup is given such an opportunity to finally apply, all he/she thinks of is a whopping $137.5 million, for nothing else but to start own mobile network.
Top of such a business plan is to pay mobile network licence, which costs exactly the same price, and we could only be stunned by such a gesture.
While the government is obviously in catch 22, on how best to manage the politics and sustainability of the current operators amidst serious dwindling revenue, probably one of us has faith greater than a mountain to kickstart something more valuable, from the same government that is yet to completely buy Telecel Zimbabwe
This does not include the basic common knowledge that states that the government must first announce the issuance of a mobile network Licence, before one even starts his own network.
This could be utter stupidity or faith like a grain seed that made one to come up with such an application.
Other shocker applications were in rather in the lowest lows.
#Mondayblues can confirm that there were also many applications which were between the range of a paltry $2 000.
Yes that’s all some startups were asking to run their next business models.
This simply goes to show how diverse and unique our players are when given the opportunity to start their own enterprises .
What I would rather call disturbing and discouraging were couple of applications calling for hundreds of thousands to start completely none tech related projects.
According to close sources working on the developments, one such application was to start own car importing business. Yes one wanted more capital to bring in a selected Japanese used cars and clearly supported the proposal under the ICT ministry initiative.
More awkward ones were in the general business line, where one startup wanted capital to run a hair saloon. Top of the demands though were to buy a car for the CEO and General manager who coincidentally were spouses and owners of the company.
A couple of good ones though and maximum applicants were asking for an average tops of $90 000. These could really be brilliant initiatives and sustainable if run well.
Unfortunately, not many were this good, and yes some people probably chose to to be skeptical and allowed the first opportunity to simply pass them .
So yaa, here we are fellow Zimbabweans, this is who we are and goes to prove that there is a lot of mentoring and training that needs to be done first , not only to those receiving funds but more to those who are thinking towards the entrepreneurial avenue.
Not all of us must run businesses and those who want to must be trained the basic basics of running an enterprise especially in a harsh Zimbabwean environment.
While we are not deficient of great ideas as a nation, we are still far from producing the next millionaire startup business if our thinking is not renewed as a nation.
I have personally encountered many youths with great ideas and solutions to solve our problems, all they allude is lack of capital, but after considering how most of us would want to run enterprises, its evident to say that we lack business know how and financial intelligence more to propel us forward.
More will need to be done on basics 101 of entrepreneurial skills to renew our minds before we start counting the zeros in the bank balance.
In the mean time, the ministry of ICT is setting up key industry experts to help adjudicate and mentor successful applicants projects.
These would also been cautioned to help identify good projects that may have been presented in bad taste as we jumpstart the sector.