Various Partners witnessed the culmination of months of hard work, innovation, and collaboration as a group of promising startups took center stage on September 1st, 2023 for an incredible Demo Day at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Lusaka.
The event showcased the remarkable growth achieved by nine Zambian startups from the GreenTech, FinTech, and Smart Cities sectors who participated in the Open Innovation Program (OIP) Zambia which has been run and implemented by Make-IT in Africa in partnership with BongoHive.
The Open Innovation Program fostered collaboration between large enterprises (private and public sector organizations) and startups in Zambia. The OIP was designed to provide startups with an opportunity to diversify their solutions, tap into new markets and at the same time large enterprises get to leverage the expertise of startups when solving for challenges.
During the program, the startups were taken through a series of co-creation workshops to refine their solutions and products to meet the market needs and ascertain that they are designed for the user in mind. The program also provided the selected startups access to technical expertise, mentoring, and training to help them improve their businesses.
Throughout the journey, the startups engaged in a series of specialized training sessions, including entrepreneurship readiness sessions guided by experienced mentors and coaches. The startups further took part in prototyping workshops through hands-on sessions allowing them to translate their innovative concepts into tangible prototypes. Persona Identification sessions were also conducted to help the participants better understand their target audience, their needs, wants and various pain points.
Having undergone intensive co-creation sessions and rigorous preparation, the startups presented their groundbreaking ideas and solutions that hold the potential to reshape industries and drive sustainable change in Zambia and beyond.
The Demo Day not only celebrated their progress but also provided a platform for networking, learning, and forging mutually beneficial collaborations with key partners in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Speaking during the event, Stanbic Bank Zambia, Head of Innovation and Digital Transformation, Yaza Kara shared her insights into the event, “ I am always amazed at the potential by innovators to find new solutions in the community and I look forward to seeing these ideas come to life.”
Further, Green Giraffe Co-founder, Mwiche Mukoma praised the potential of innovation in Zambia, “There is a lot of hope for the future not only for Zambia but the world. I am excited to see the practicality of the ideas that have been presented here today and it is especially encouraging to see young people and women taking a lead in the entrepreneurial world.’’
BongoHive Co-founder and Director of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Simunza Muyangana highlighted that it was beautiful to see how people came through to hear how relevant the innovative ideas are.
‘’It was good to see an ecosystem where people participate and are keen to see the growth of new companies. We were also glad to see candid and constructive feedback given to the startups from organisations and institutions that have more experience and expertise in their respective fields. We know this feedback will go a long way in assisting the startups to continue refining their ideas.”
The following startups took part in the Open Innovation Program:
- BlueMoney is a last-mile banking services platform for small businesses operating in Africa.
- NetaGrow Technologies provides data-driven farming using IOT solutions.
- Mtetezi Enterprises Limited is a waste management practice for a clean and sustainable society.
- Kavena Consultancy is a financial services company that provides bookkeeping services to SMEs.
- Toyani focuses on providing urban transportation solutions.
- GreenWay Solutions provides alternative sources of cooking energy from agriculture and municipal waste.
- Ecocube Technology is a platform providing real-time monitoring of waste levels, ensuring optimal collection times and reducing overflow incidents.
- Bio Green Technology is a fish farming technology as well as consultancy services for emergent fish farmers.
- Yaaka Investments Limited deals in waste management, energy and climate change across the globe.
- Khah Technology is a startup using technology to provide accommodation facilities.
About Make-IT in Africa
Make-IT in Africa believes in the catalytic power of innovation and digital technologies for green and sustainable development. In close collaboration with digital visionaries like start-ups, innovation enablers and political partners, we empower African innovation ecosystems. Together, we aim to strengthen an environment in which the full potential of African digital innovation can unfold.
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH implements this project on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
BongoHive is Zambia’s first technology and innovation Hub. BongoHive works with great minds to build viable solutions by providing a range of startup and tech programs, workshops and events all focused on making Zambia Africa’s next hotbed of innovation.
The programs that we have created have been crafted to guide startups through the entrepreneurial journey; from idea right through to getting investment.