Eight2Five Innovation Hub celebrated its first year anniversary on Friday last week. The event was held both in person and live on Facebook to reach a wider audience. It was a vibrant evening with live performances, an awards ceremony and a few interesting activities. As Eight2Five celebrated a year of innovation, creativity and good relationships, the hub continues to invest in providing services that lead to sustainable and meaningful impact on its partners’ businesses in line with their vision of becoming the silicon valley of Zimbabwe.
Speaking at the event on Friday, Innovation Manager Anesu Mutasa reminisced about how they started with the setup, “We were here with the architects trying to figure out: What can we do to make the entrepreneurs happy and to build an ecosystem that would help these businesses to flourish and get to the next level?”
The hub has since become a home to successful entrepreneurs in various disciplines. Hub members can attest to benefiting from the environment that promotes community and fruitful synergies. “What makes the hub unique is the ambiance, the people, the vibe, and the programmes and access to all the facilities necessary to set your startup business up with success.”, explained Marvellous Nyongoro at the anniversary celebration event where he, together with a couple of hub users, received the Personality Awards in recognition of their success and good vibes throughout the year. Beyond the physical address, Eight2Five Innovation Hub has provided an opportunity for members to be a part of programmes that help to expand their markets, raise funds and build a culture of innovation and sustainable impact.
Although the Covid-19 pandemic slowed down business, the hub has been able to achieve its goals and follow through with the vision. Some of the programmes that run throughout the year include Pitch Perfect, Mental Health sessions, the Value Creation Challenge, weekly Startup & Entrepreneur Meetup meetings and some community related projects. Anesu was excited to share a few success stories, “Over 12 000 entrepreneurs came and interacted with the space, and with our programmes for further capacitation we also managed to have one of the entrepreneurs sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority about how they can profile the wonders of Zimbabwe through virtual and augmented reality.”
Eight2Five Innovation Hub plans to continue to develop strategic programs that elevate innovation by effectively engaging startups, and other stakeholders such as the government, investors, academia, and corporates.
About Eight2Five Innovation Hub
Eight2Five is an Innovative Hub that partners with entrepreneurs to achieve a shared vision of solving real world and business problems through technology. One of the hub’s flagship initiative is the Value Creation Challenge established to support young people in transforming business practices through digital solutions, access to skills, and platforms to network and advance together in communities. www.eight2five.co.zw
About Old Mutual
Old Mutual Zimbabwe offers services to Zimbabwe-based clients via a focused range of products including Life Assurance, Asset Management, Unit Trusts, Property Development and Management, Short-term Insurance and Banking Services. www.oldmutual.co.zw