By Fungayi Chimbindi
Former producers of local entrepreneurial show My Own Boss Simanga Zhou and Kumbirai Chipadza have partnered with entrepreneur Lloyd Chiyangwa and formed Deutsche-Connect a company that has managed to unlock funding from German investors for Zimbabwean youths with innovative start ups.
The company has courted German investors and venture capitalists in agriculture, tourism, mining, energy and manufacturing industries who are willing to fund start ups by local youths.
Zhou said the Deutsch-Connect venture had the potential to promote local ideas on a global scale.
“We are urging all innovative start-ups to register with us so that they have an opportunity that can be life changing.
“It’s high time Zimbabwean ideas went global and compete with the very best, the youth should play an important role in taking the country forward in order to leave a better Zimbabwe for the next generation,” he said.
Simanga said his company sought to provide a vast array of services beyond direct business initiatives.
“Deutsch-Connect is looking for innovative start-ups from across all sectors of the economy and also those not only looking for funding but markets.
“Another key area for Deutsch-Connect is that German business leaders are willing to play mentorship roles to chosen start-ups and have exchange programmes that will see Zimbabwean Entrepreneurs experiencing first-hand the German business ecosystem,” he added.
He said start-up proposals would not be financially restricted but had to push a developmental agenda.
“While there is no cap for funding, proposals need to be innovative and help develop local communities. Furthermore, there is an opportunity of opening a Deutsch-Connect incubator in Zimbabwe which will be a replica of the Berlin model,” he said.
The co-founder Chipadza who is based in Germany, said the advent of information communication technology had broadened opportunities for Africans.
“Berlin is now the start-up capital of the world, and in an age of advanced technology there are no longer borders for fast and effective interaction, while Africa and Zimbabwe has the brains there is however no capital and technology to help innovative ideas,” he said.
Chipadza, who now based in Germany, said his stint working for the Zimbabwe Youth Council had attributed to his interest in helping youths after watching many good business proposals fail to launch due to lack of funding.