Global Entrepreneurship Week ended on a really great note with Lusaka hosting it’s first ever Startup Weekend. If you don’t know what Startup Weekend is, it’s a global movement of entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs who come together for weekend-long, hands-on experiences to launch and explore business ideas. The official organizers of Startup Weekend Lusaka are Lukonga, George, Simunza, Muntanga, Charles and Sithembile and platinum sponsors included InfoDev and Bongohive. There was also a lot of help from c1rca1964 our media partner, iConnect for Internet and our various coaches, speakers and judges as well as our enthusiastic attendees who made this event an extraordinary success.
On our first night, we had a comfortable crowd of about 40 people and got right into reminding people what startup weekend is all about with some videos and welcoming remarks. We also had a speech given by one of our well known local entrepreneurs, Monica Musonda of Java Foods. Soon followed the moment of truth…the 60 second pitch. You had to explain what your idea entailed in 60 seconds to get teammates to back you up and proceed to the next stage. Altogether, 10 ideas were pitched but only 9 were able to make it through to the next round. After our guests organized themselves in teams, it was time for a quick supper, networking and our guests were free to leave to rest till the nest day. Many of our entrepreneurs were quite eager to stay on and get started right away with their projects however which made it the start of a VERY busy weekend.
The next day began not too soon after 9AM for most with an explanation of the business model canvas for startups and reorganizing teams to account for those that couldn’t show up. We had 8 healthy teams by then and the startup spirit was in full swing. Many had worked on their project demos the night before so this day had most working on market research and devising a solid business plan. With our coaches giving us their invaluable support, even the least business savvy of us had their ideas on top of a solid business strategy.
The task for day 3 was pretty clear. Getting ready for 5PM pitch night!!! Quite a daunting task as many had never had that opportunity before. With the help of Matt Grollnek we got up to speed though and our participants were pitch perfect. Just in time too. Startup Weekend Pitch Night was upon us and everybody in that room was going to be able to witness the culmination of a weekend of hard work in a mere 5 minutes.
Here are the startups that were pitched:
1. Maliketi – An app that helps you get fresh fruits and vegetables from your local markets.
Team Leader: Samuel Dokowe
2. Taximania – A taxi app that enables you to quickly get a trusted cab driver near you.
Team Leader: David Ridwan
3. Photoprint – An interactive travel app that matches your photos to places on trips you’ve taken.
Team Leader: Francis Lombe
4. Botbox – A service that makes robotics more accessible to schools and tinkerers in Zambia for experimentation and learning by renting out kits.
Team Leader: Sithembile Ncube
5. Q-SMS – An SMS marketing service that makes sure stores keep in touch with their loyal customers
Team Leader: Atupele Mboya
6. DotMpeg – A music service that combats the effects of piracy by providing an alternative source of revenue for artists through digital music.
Team Leader: Daryl Lukas
7. Electronic Enterprise Solutions – A company that provides affordable digital solutions for organizations such as database management.
Team Leader: Paul Kaumba
8. Yapazed – An app that provides ownership data and nutritional information for foods for health benefits and local product awareness in Zambia.
Team Leader: Chisenga Muyoya
The event was really enlightening and much was learned within those 54 hours. We’re currently discussing the future and putting in plans to support these projects as they continue. The winners and other startups will be competing in the Global Startup Battle for even bigger prizes offered by our Global Sponsors.
We’d like to thank everyone for making our first Startup Weekend Lusaks a success and being great team players. We can’t wait to do this again next year! 🙂