Chipo Chihunda from Mashonaland West has won the inaugural Youth Connekt Zimbabwe StartUp Tour Bus Competition with her innovative roofing tiles made from plastic waste.
"I am honoured and very excited about winning. My main focus is now on growing my business, expanding my market base and creating a product which can compete on a global scale." - Chipo Chihunda
In second place is Saberstian Sibanda from Midlands with his chemical free animal feed which grows in 7 days and third place was taken by the Bi’Pluz team from Matabeleland South with their biomass briquettes.
Each winner has been awarded an all expenses paid trip to the 2019 Youth Connekt Summit to be held in Rwanda in October. In addition, the first place winner has been awarded an all expenses paid trip to the 2020 One Young World conference, whilst the second place winner has been awarded $150 worth of airtime per month for three months.
The national finals mark the “final bus stop” of the Start Up Tour Bus which travelled to all 10 provinces in Zimbabwe over 5 weeks looking for the country’s top innovators between the ages of 18 and 35. Within the 10 provinces, the tour reached over 1000 young people with business training and other support.
“As UNDP , we have been inspired not only by the overwhelming engagement of Zimbabwe’s young people with Youth Connekt but also by the level of innovations presented. Many young people around the country are working hard to devise solutions to some of the country’s most pressing challenges” – Georges van Montfort, UNDP, Resident Representative
The Minister for Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation Hon. Kirsty Coventry also stated,"I have been very inspired by the Youth Connekt pitches. The innovations of young people will take us forward and help us compete with the rest of the world."
Winners selected had innovations from several sectors including technology, agri-tech, energy and waste recycling. Following the competition all finalists are now focused on scaling up their business’ ideas with the $5000 USD prize which was awarded to each provincial winner.
The Startup tour bus is the first initiative launched by Youth Connekt in Zimbabwe which is being led by the Ministry of Youth, Sports, Arts and Recreation and the United Nations Development Programme(UNDP).
Youth Connekt is being implemented with support from the following partners: Elevate, Higher Life Foundation, Steward Bank, Impact Hub, Micah Foundation, Tag Team and UN Volunteers.