Other | November 27, 2013

Zimbabwe: Harare Pitch Nights Begin

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It would have been difficult to fit another person in the room. Emerging Idea's Pitch Night launched in Harare, Zimbabwe on the back of Global Entrepreneurship Week with more than 120 people from different industries and backgrounds to create a community springboard for new ideas, compelling brands, and vision-burdened entrepreneurs.. It was very encouraging to see the caliber of individuals who came through. Entrepreneurs and business owners in Harare came together to inspire and encourage business growth in one another. One gentleman stood up in a state of shock (just adding to a pitch) and remarked "I've been in business for over 35 years in this country and I've never seen any of your faces..." he said while chuckling to himself. Everyone knows that being an entrepreneur can be lonely, but last Friday night in the newly renovated Basement of the Celebration Center, the expanding world of startups in Harare came closer together. The utilitarian theme of the room complete with metal bleachers, a trendy, curved stage, and a massive chandelier made out of glass bottles (created by a local startup) enhanced the tangible energy in the room. The free coffee and live tweet wall added to the adrenaline and creativity that forced people to stay 2 to 3 hours after the event ended. Three entrepreneurs pitched their companies for four and a half minutes each. The presentations included Temp Bag (a bag that uses recycled kaylite to cook food and save electricity), Astro Technologies (which is now employing 70 Zimbabweans) a marvelously daring tech company, and FreeWire, a company giving free internet to different gathering points in the city. Next, the community brought a wave of challenges, questions, and support that accelerated these growing companies like no marketing campaign could do. The great thing about this atmosphere is that everyone wanted to help. That's the beauty of this Pitch Night platform, which will now be held monthly, is that the entrepreneur community gets it, and they are the ones making it a success or a failure. Any reservations that we had about the “crab mentality” or jealousy factors were put to bed. We cannot wait to see what the next pitch night brings about. We already have pitches coming in from South Africa, Mozambique, and tons from Harare. The next Pitch Night will be on Thursday the 30th of January at the Basement (Celebration Center). Thanks to all of the countless people who helped and gave of their time because of their love for emerging ideas in Zimbabwe. And a special thank you to Global Entrepreneurship Week, the Kauffman Foundation, and Unleashing Ideas for giving us the platform to make ideas in Zimbabwe become even more of a reality. Guest post by Tim Bickers