Networking is an integral part of becoming successful in business. You cannot operate as an island – you need others to excel. There is more potential and power to be unlocked from collaborating with others. So important it is that it is said that your network is your net worth. There are so many ways to network and this all helps in building your social capital. Central to networking are certain business events that you can organize or be a part of. Let me discuss 6 of some of the business events that Zimbabwe needs more of.
Pitch Nights Or Contests
I always underscore the importance of knowing how to pitch. Pitches are quite handy when it comes to seeking to secure funding or entering strategic partnerships. It is appreciable that I have seen some Zimbabwean events having pitch nights as part of the line-up. I recently spoke about the 2021 BancABC Virtual SME Summit scheduled to hold on from the 25th to the 26th of November 2021. The final part of that 2-day event will be a pitch contest.
I also recently spoke about Eagle’s Nest Youth Export Incubator Show powered by ZimTrade. The show entails young Zimbabwean entrepreneurs pitching their businesses or startups to a panel of entrepreneur judges. This one is more or less like Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank. Overall, it is good to see that pitching contests are becoming common in Zimbabwe. However, we need to see more of them in due course.
Festivals And Carnivals
In Zimbabwe, we at times have festivals and carnivals but they are rare. They are not a common feature though in Zimbabwe and I feel they are paramount. Such events provide a platform for businesses and startups to showcase their products and services. This can either happen alongside other events or there can be specific days for that. This is because festivals and carnivals are typically multi-day events.
I would say the closest we have to such events are trade shows. However, festivals and carnivals are usually based on some cultural themes. There is so much in Zimbabwean culture to celebrate and we could do several regular festivals and carnivals. Of course, there has been the hurdle of the pandemic but it has been quite a while since we had a carnival in Zimbabwe. We need more of such events because they go a stretch in promoting Zimbabwean enterprises and forging collaboration and partnerships.
Startup Boot Camps
Startup boot camps can take on many different forms. The focuses or themes vary, for example, a startup boot camp can be about strategic planning. The uniqueness about boot camps is that they are not quite like mainstream events such as workshops or seminars. Ideally, the stuff that can be covered in a boot camp can be covered in such mainstream events. Boot camps can involve people going somewhere outdoors and being there for a couple of days. They can do interesting, active, and engaging events that are all focused on creating practical teaching or learning moments. We need such events in Zimbabwe. The beauty of such events is that they can even be branded into television shows. Bear in mind though that startup boot camps can also be done wholly online.
Beauty And Fashion Shows
It is commonplace to see such events in other countries. This needs to be a regular feature of Zimbabwean events all year round. Primarily, this creates a platform for Zimbabwean business people or entrepreneurs in the beauty and fashion space to shine. We have innumerable gifted people in this space and they need a platform and a voice. Aside from that, such events converge with other businesses and startups to showcase their stuff. They also create platforms for ad placements and even product or service launches. So many people stand to benefit and profit from such well-put beauty and fashion shows.
Public lectures tend to be held at tertiary institutions such as colleges and universities. As much as they are usually attended to most by students but they are usually open to the general public also. Public lectures can be specially tailored to cover business-related topics. Public lectures usually entail an expert or thought leader in a particular field delivering a lecture.
I recall the last public lecture I attended was by an Israeli professor who was delivering a lecture comparing Zimbabwe and Israel. His thrust was to practically demonstrate and prove that Zimbabwe has vast untapped potential. Up to this day that public lecture has stayed with me. There are public lectures held in Zimbabwe from time to time at various learning institutions. However, they are not as frequent and widespread as should be.
I love talk shows and I am sure many of you do. Again, just like many events, talk shows take on different forms. They can involve a guest panel and an audience. Some can just involve a guest panel of a moderator and say, 2 or 3 guest panellists. Then they can be talking about some topical issue in the field of business. Lately, my favourite Zimbabwean talk show of such nature is Friday Drinks that is aired on YouTube. They have so far covered 2 full episodes. They cover very interesting and engaging topics regarding the Zimbabwean economy and other business-related topics. We need to see more such events being done in the field of business in Zimbabwe.
These are 6 of some of the business events that I feel Zimbabwe needs more of. You can take the initiative to put them together yourself and have others participate. Alternatively, you can look for such events and be a part of them. I tend to see most such business events being done in Harare or Bulawayo. I would think that it is preferable to see this happening in all Zimbabwean towns and cities. Every location in Zimbabwe has lots to offer and showcase.