Old Mutual launches 2024 edition of the Value Creation Challenge 2024 (VCC4)

Staff Writer

The Eight2Five Innovation Hub, powered by Old Mutual has launched the 2024 edition of the Value Creation Challenge (VCC4), which is an innovative incubation programme that aims to bolster innovation and entrepreneurship in Zimbabwe.

The programme, which is in collaboration with the British Council and the British Embassy and builds on the success of its predecessors, continues to be a pivotal part of Zimbabwe’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

“It provides promising business innovations with the necessary support to grow into successful enterprises.

“The programme enhances participants’ business acumen and refines their strategies through expert mentorship, bespoke training, and invaluable resources.

“Additionally, it facilitates networking opportunities, connecting entrepreneurs with industry luminaries, potential investors, and collaborative partners,” said Old Mutual Zimbabwe chief executive Samuel Matsekete at the launch.

He said one of the key advantages of the VCC4 is its focus on providing market access for participants, as through pitching events and demo days, entrepreneurs gain unparalleled business exposure and visibility.

“Beyond market access, the VCC4 offers entrepreneurs a platform to receive valuable feedback and validation from seasoned professionals.

“This feedback is instrumental in refining business models, strengthening market positioning, and enhancing overall competitiveness.

“In addition, VCC4 participants will have access to financial services offered by Old Mutual Zimbabwe Limited, providing critical support for their ventures’ growth and development,” said Matsekete.

Investments in new innovation and technology will go a long way towards bridging economic gaps and improving food security.

Samuel Matsekete

However, Matsekete reiterated that “Eight2Five is strategically aligned with the Zimbabwean National Agenda, focusing primarily on fostering economic empowerment, creating employment opportunities, and catalysing innovation.

“We directly contribute to these national goals by nurturing startups and stimulating innovation. “Our initiatives support the government’s vision of transforming small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) into significant contributors to the national economy,” he said.

Additionally, Matsekete highlighted the success of the Value Creation Challenge in the previous year, saying the challenge received over 1,200 applications, with 533 outstanding proposals completed.

He said notable startups like Farmbuzz, an agri-tech company using drone technology for farming, and Taxpal, a regulatory tech innovation simplifying tax filing for SMEs using AI, stood out. 

“These startups not only address local and regional challenges but also have the potential for broader market impact,” said Matsekete.

He noted that in 2024, Old Mutual plans to expand the Value Creation Challenge further, aiming to support sustainability in emerging industries, the creative sector, and advanced technological innovations.

“This expansion will attract more innovators and provide comprehensive support, helping them move from ideation to market-ready solutions,” he said.

According to Old Mutual, the challenge is open to early-stage startups with innovative prototypes and existing businesses with a minimum viable product (MVP), particularly those within the first two years of operation.

The VCC4 is especially interested in businesses in emerging industries, innovative technology, the creative sector, and sustainability-focused ventures, and entrepreneurs from all over Zimbabwe are encouraged to apply.

“As part of their commitment to inclusivity, the Eight2Five team will conduct innovation clinics in Harare, Mutare, Masvingo, Gweru, and Bulawayo between May 20 and May 24.

“These clinics aim to extend the reach of the challenge and ensure that entrepreneurs from various regions can participate,” said Matsekete.

He noted that the Value Creation Challenge has played a significant role in nurturing entrepreneurial talent and driving sustainable economic growth in Zimbabwe.