2019 came and left and so much happened in the startups’ space locally. It is refreshing to note that the startups culture in Zimbabwe is steadily gaining traction. For our nation to align properly with the tenets of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) we need that. The startups’ space provides an interesting domain which is both exciting and demanding (in terms of acquiring new knowledge). Herein I shall discuss 5 local startups that any local entrepreneur must closely watch this year. In so doing you stand to learn a lot of insightful things regarding entrepreneurship in this digital age.
As a nation, we are well on course to having our own ‘Bitcoin’ – ZIMBOCASH. Let me point some basics here; inflation emanates from amongst other factors, unchecked money printing. That can be effectively addressed by fixing the money supply using a blockchain currency system. Zimbocash is a decentralized digital currency for Zimbabwe. It is purely digital, thus there will be no physical bills or coins involved.
The prime goal of Zimbocash is to get to a point where Zimbabweans can actually pay for goods and services using Zimbocash. Sign-ups are still open and it is absolutely free – you are not asked to pay anything. When you sign up you get free Zimbocash tokens. It is open for all Zimbabweans locally and those in the diaspora. You can learn more about Zimbocash on their website. What makes 2020 particularly iconic for Zimbocash is that it shall be officially launched and listed on an exchange sometime this year. After the Golix nightmare, it will be interesting to see how a fully Zimbabwean Cryptocurrency does in such a space.
Fixa Services is an exciting new startup whose mobile app is coming out in a few days’ time. Its developer is a young Zimbabwean called Tafara Makaza. Fixa Services is a private company that shall be operating primarily in Zimbabwe and then in other African countries such as Zambia, Rwanda, Cameroun and Uganda. The Fixa Services app will connect you with local handyman professionals who can carry out any tasks you might want to have carried for you. It is basically a service provider booking app. Those who can provide their professional services will have to register with Fixa Services by filling their sign up form. They will be vetted and background-checked to ensure clients’ requests are handled by experts. The Fixa Services app is set to launch this week. .
Musika has been around for about 2 years but it is now worth your attention even more. Musika’s services portfolio is dual i.e. there is a platform where farmers can purchase agricultural inputs. Then there is another platform which publishes daily agricultural commodity prices and important alerts – this is mainly done on WhatsApp. These two platforms are Musika Solutions and Musika Express respectively. Well over ten thousand farmers are reached through these Musika services. You can learn more about them by visiting their website, their Facebook page (@musikazw) or on WhatsApp (+263719454686).
This is an online crowdfunding platform being developed by Keith Mlauzi to assist anyone to raise money online for any worthy cause be it capital for business, projects or school fees amongst others. If you know of global crowdfunding platforms such as GoFundMe or Kickstarter then that must give you an idea of what Funded is all about. This will essentially become the first official online crowdfunding platform that is home-grown in Zimbabwe. I spoke to Keith earlier and he indicated that everything is in order and he is working on the final stages prior to the official launch. He is confident that by the end of February all will be set and at least 100 crowdfunding campaigns will already be in motion. Considering the growing buzz locally in the crowdfunding domain, this will definitely be a game-changer.
Fresh In A Box
Fresh In A Box has been around for just over one year. Fresh In A Box uses a very simple web app through which customers can place orders. People can place orders for fruits, vegetables, beverages, groceries items and more. They serve two clusters of customers namely, locals and diasporans. Diasporans can purchase for their loved ones back here and deliveries are made. They currently receive orders from at least 12 countries globally. Alternatively, you can send a WhatsApp message to 0774 162 442 and you’re given steps on how to order. Over 60% of orders that they receive come via their WhatsApp platform. This is an interesting startup to set your sights on in 2020 because they are an important case study on local e-commerce. In just one year they moved from nothing to over 30 young employees, a Fresh Farm, 2 agronomists, accountants, logistics partners, dispatchers, a fleet of cars and bikes, 2 refrigerated packing rooms and at least 250 deliveries daily.
So throughout 2020, these are some of the exciting startups to look out for. One of the things to note is that these startups are leveraging on mobile platforms, digital technology, the internet and social media amongst others. These are all elements that any serious entrepreneur must incorporate into their businesses. Closely follow these 5 startups and I guarantee you that you will learn a lot on effective 21st-century entrepreneurship and the startup’s culture.