Seven Zimbabweans have made it onto the finalists for this year’s Southern Africa Startup Awards (SASAwards). I will discuss the SASAwards later on in the article but first, let us take a look at these 7 Zimbabweans. They are Dr Faith Nyamukupa (Female Role Model of the Year), Overuse Enterprises Pvt Limited/Mazibisa Inc (Best Startup Ecosystem Initiative), YouFarm (Best FoodTech/AgriTech Startup), Farai Pyro (Best Social Impact Startup), Nkosana Mazibisa (Founder of the Year), Zim Waves (Best Newcomer), and People’s Choice of the Year (John Paul Matenga/YouFarm). For these brilliant minds to emerge victorious we must vote for them (will explain later on).

Southern Africa Startup Awards (SASAwards)

The Southern Africa Startup Awards fall under the Global Startup Awards. These awards afford budding tech entrepreneurs making an impact in society to get recognition and limelight. The awards create a platform that attracts entrepreneurs, investors and thought leaders in the tech field. The Global Startup Awards have a global reach of 7 regions and over 50 countries. Coming up with ultimate winners is a process that involves a broad range of people some of whom are investors, political stakeholders, founders and thought leaders amongst several others. Nominations opened on the 13th of May and closed on the 22nd of July. National winners were announced on the 21st of September and then the following day regional public voting opened. That voting round is still open and ends on the 10th of next month. Next month on the 28th will be the grand finale in Johannesburg.

Categories And Key Terms

There are several categories and I shall list them and briefly discuss what they are about. Startup of the Year, Best Newcomer, Founder of the Year, Investor of the Year, Female Role Model of the Year, Best Social Impact Startup, Best Fintech Startup, Best FoodTech/AgriTech Startup, Best Student Startup, Best EduTech Startup, Best Accelerator or Incubator Program, Best Coworking Space, Best Startup Ecosystem Initiative, Best Water Crisis Management Solution, Best Health Tech Startup, Best Fashion Tech Startup, Best Media Partner, and Brave Founder Beginnings.

Most of the category titles are self-explanatory so I will just touch on some that might not be so obvious. Best Newcomer is a startup that is 2 years old or younger that has demonstrated the biggest growth in the past year. Female Role Model of the Year is for the most inspirational and influential woman in the startup ecosystem. She can be anything i.e. a coder, a founder, a designer, a mentor or facilitator for a startup. Brave Founder Beginnings is for a refugee or migrant founder(s) of a tech startup who has made a significant impact in the SADC region.

For these awards, a startup is defined as a company that is 5 years old or younger. It should be a company that uses tech or software in its products or services. An investor is defined as someone or a company who finances startups through convertible debt or to get ownership in the form of equity. A coworking space is a shared working environment that is flexible enough to provide services, support and resources necessary for tech startups to grow. An accelerator is a fixed-term mentorship program that employs the use of cohorts to aid and equip entrepreneurs with all they need to scale operations.

How To Vote

All you have to do is to go to the SASAwards website.  Once you are there you click on ‘VOTE HERE!’ after which you select the category, the country. Once you do that, possible options matching your search criteria will be displayed below. Alternatively, you can also filter by entering the name of the nominee. When you see the result you are looking for you go on to click on ‘VOTE’. You will be asked to sign in with Facebook or vote using your email. Once the process is done you are presented with an option to share to Facebook or Twitter. So let us all rally behind our fellow Zimbabweans by voting for them.

It is great to see Zimbabweans making a mark in the region. Despite the ailing economy people are coming up with impactful tech initiatives and that is quite commendable. Do not forget to vote for the 7 Zimbabwean finalists.