Innovation needs fuel

Innovation needs fuel

“The best time to start a business is in uncertain times.” I learnt as much yesterday during a talk I listened to. The talk was about how young people are coping mentally during the covid-19 pandemic. To someone who has never run a business starting now doesn't make sense. As I was listening to some of Zimbabwe’s bright minds being interviewed  by Mucha Nyandoro with  Nigel Chanakira participating and speaking to the youths, I was left with no doubt that with no doubt that something is happening ZImbabwe. The conversations are part of the Solidarity TRUST Zimbabwe talks being held every week on their Facebook page.

Happening at a time the world is gripped by a coronavirus pandemic, and at a time the number of cases are on the rise in Zimbabwe, there is a lot of confusion among the youth and even the older generation in Zimbabwe and indeed in the rest of the world. Will things ever be normal again? What will happen to schools, jobs and so on? Listening to the talk left me wondering about a lot of things too. The most important being, are we doing enough in our own little or big ways? Are we consciously making the right choices and changing how we relate to each other or even how we run our businesses. 

The world as we know has shifted and by the look of things never to be the same again. While times are uncertain, so much is clear. As Nigel said in the talk supply chains have been broken and need fixing. There are some brave fixers out there who are launching businesses as we speak and fixing the broken supply chains. From food delivery to home schooling to mobile doctors, mobile pharmacies  and more. 

Being part of a technology hub that's helping tech early stage entrepreneurs, I have also seen that a lot is changing and participants in a survey that was commissioned by Tech Hub Harare this week is revealing as much. If you are an entrepreneur you can take part in the anonymous survey at Tech Hub Harare  and help us gather information which can be used to help save startups. 


There are so many promising ideas that are  needlessly dying  because not enough attention is being paid to making them grow into proper viable businesses. While the number of covid-19 cases is now increasing sharply and pointing to a rather long journey in these uncertain times. I am very optimistic because Zimbabweans are not sitting back and watching it all unfold. Everyone is finding new ways of playing their part. From food kitchens to feed the vulnerable in Epworth and Chitungwiza to building new hospitals and clinics to take care of the sick. 

Big institutions are stepping in to make resources available and to improve our lot. I worry however about the small businessman who we know very little about despite the sacrifices they make day in day out to keep the 3 to 4 people that they employ daily.

This is why I am encouraging you to share this survey and get as many entrepreneurs as possible to take it so that informed interventions can be made and help save jobs and lives. Without data and without clear insights into what they are going through we will stab in the dark and miss the opportunity to save jobs and lives. Innovation needs fuel. Unfortunately that fuel could be running out as innovators run out of funds to purchase data, zesa and kits.  

As an investments advisor and entrepreneur I have come across many potential businessmen and women who have been waiting for more than a year, two or even five years for the right time to start their businesses. During the same time I have also seen people who have started their own business ventures single handedly without getting help from anyone and continue to survive as we speak. However those same people are quickly running out of luck as demand has fallen and supply chains have been broken. We also need interventions that help startups and small business to keep them going and spur more innovation as our world evolves.  


  • Posted on 29 May, 2020
  • by Administrator
  • Startups