Q: What makes this Startup Weekend Harare Different?

Q: What Makes this Startup Weekend Harare Different?

A: Global Startup Battle!

Startup Weekend Harare is returning to Zimbabwe for round two, guaranteed to blow your socks off, this time bigger and better than before!  Kicking off at the end of Global Entrepreneurship Week, we are so proud to be at the forefront of technology and entrepreneurship in Zimbabwe.  Sure it’s the same concept as before, but for Startup Weekend Harare teams this November there is something more in store.  This time, in addition to winning local prizes, all the Startup Weekend Harare teams have the chance to go global and compete on an international level with countries all over the world and also some of the best and brightest from over 48 countries in the region including, Botswana, Cameroon, Angola, DRC, South Africa, Uganda, Zambia!

Introducing Startup Weekend Harare: Global Startup Battle!  Startup Weekends take place all over the world all the time.  This year, coinciding with Global Entrepreneurship Week which runs from November 17 – 23, Global Startup Battle invites Startup Weekend teams to compete with one another regionally or by theme via a global video competition.

How exactly does this work, you may ask?  Around Global Entrepreneurship Week there will be over 200 other Startup Weekends (including ours!) happening at the same time all over the world, and every team from those events is eligible to compete in Global Startup Battle (GSB).  Teams will compete by region (e.g. ours is Sub-Saharan Africa), or by theme ‘tracks’ by submitting their business idea/product via video online to a panel of international judges.  This means that whether you win Startup Weekend Harare or not, your team can still submit their business idea to compete in one of six tracks as part of Global Startup Battle for fantastic prizes!

How can you compete? There’s a track for every team!

Tracks are special categories which teams can compete in based on pre-specified criteria.  There are several themed tracks that offer different prizes, resources, and judges. Choose the one that fits your team best.  Everyone is eligible for each track regardless of Startup Weekend Harare placement. In other words, you don’t have to win Startup Weekend Harare in order to take part.  There are 6 Tracks in total, and GSB has announced the following tracks so far:

Champions Track

Featuring the best of the best, join a legacy of some of the all-time Startup Weekend greats as part of the Champions Track in Global Startup Battle.   To be eligible, first your team must compete locally at Startup Weekend Harare, then take your video pitch and go against others in your Region before advancing to the final global stage.  Probably the most fiercely competitive category, prizes for this track include:

  • A chance to take part in Startup Oasis at SXSW in Texas, USA including stage time, mentors, and free accommodation
  • a booth at CES Eureka Park amongst the best startups in the world
  • a Startup Launch Conference in Silicon Valley
  • a legal startup kit
  • and more! (full prize details available here)

Women’s Track

This track has been established to grow diversity worldwide and showcase the talents of women entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs. It is focused on women entrepreneurs and highlights their work and talents.  Find out more info about prizes here.


Education, Empowered Track

The Education, Empowered track is about elevating the next great idea in education.  This track is focused on empowering people to pursue the work they love by providing access to 21st century skills.   From improving the way we learn to increasing access to education, we’re looking at you to join us in creating a world where everyone is empowered to be a thinker and a maker.  Find out more info about prizes here.


The Innovators Track

The .CO Innovators Track allows all Startup Weekend teams launching their business ideas on a .CO domain to win a trip to Jason Calacanis’ LAUNCH Festival – the best place to launch your startup, raise money and learn about starting a company. Any team that builds their idea on a .CO domain during a Startup Weekend event is eligible.  Find out more details here.

Do the KIND Thing Track

The KIND Movement has create a track called Do the KIND Thing, wherein contestants are invited to submit ideas for socially impactful business ideas, on the understanding that there’s more to business than just profit. Find out more details here.

Each track has its own specific criteria to qualify, to win, judges and prizes to be won.  Check out the Global Startup Battle Website as they reveal the last track in the lead up to Global Startup Battle in the next few days!

So if you were on the fence about coming through to Startup Weekend Harare a second time around because you already competed in May, think again!  This time, the chances for prizes, international exposure, team-building, and making your business dreams come true are greater than ever.  And if you have never competed in Startup Weekend Harare, come through for a life-changing chance of a lifetime to learn how to develop your business idea, network, and win loads of prizes.  BUY YOUR Startup Weekend Harare TICKET TODAY!


Important Dates

Nov 14-16 – Global Startup Battle weekend 1

Nov 21-23 – Global Startup Battle weekend 2*

Nov 26 – Voting begins (theme tracks)

Dec 3 – Voting ends

Dec 4-5 – Judging

Dec 6-7 – Scoring/Admin

Dec 10 – Winner Announcement

*Startup Weekend Harare participants will be part of Global Startup Battle Weekend 2


What happened last Startup Weekend in May 2014?

Zimbabwe’s first Startup Weekend took place just six months ago, at tech hub Hypercube Hub in Belgravia.  It was a brand new concept, but its goal was nothing new: exploring and developing new ideas.  The concept and platform brought together 72 eager participants who formed 11 teams that worked together over a 54-hour weekend to come up with a winning, viable business plan.  The results? Incredible!

The 11 teams developed, validated and tested fully-realized business models – companies that were ready to launch by the end of the weekend.  How realistic was all of this, given the time frame you might ask?  The answer lies in the power of cooperation.  Not only did each of the 11 teams rise to the challenge, but they also created actual working product prototypes, validated them with potential consumers, and presented a bankable product to an esteemed panel of judges.

Startup Weekend Harare organizer Jennifer Mayer says of the first Startup Weekend Harare,

“We are incredibly inspired and excited by what happened over this past weekend—the level and quality of ideas, people’s willingness to participate and share those ideas, collaborate in very concrete ways, and achieve results. The commitment of our sponsors to a relatively unknown platform was overwhelming and very positive.”

Over the course of the May weekend, Startup Weekend Harare organizers were blown away by the energy, stamina and commitment of the participants.  Lifelong friendships were made, companies were formed, technology and knowledge exchange took place and victories were shared.  Our invited guest judges, Nestle MD Kumbirayi Katsande, UMax CEO Michele Scanlon and Securico Founder and CEO Divine Ndhlukula, were similarly impressed and in the end declared Kwese Music and their K’Tamba Toys brand, Zimbabwe’s inaugural Startup Weekend Harare winning team.  The Kwese Music teammates: Tadzoka Pswarayi, Auxicillia Rabwi, Chenjerai Katanda, Gwendolene Mugodi, Kuzivakwashe Muvezwa, Kudakwashe Magwenzi, Anesu Mutazu, Jonathan Whitaker and Ngonidzashe Magwenzi took home the top prize valued at $78,000. Their business idea?  A device that turns any physical object into a musical instrument.  In the end, after hearing from all 11 teams, Kwese Music won the day with what the judges declared to be the strongest business model.

Coming in a close second was the sports betting application Money Game which presented an exciting and unique business model-sports betting on your phone- complete with app design by 15-year old team member, Tadiwa Maziwisa.  This team did well to identify a hole in the market and had great success and interest from Harare’s gambling houses, but the judges felt they failed to address the problem of how to deal with regulation.  The crowd favourite Combi Code who came in third, designed an app that helps inform and protect passengers who ride kombis.  Who doesn’t want that?!  The team were undeterred by their third place position.  Team leader Brian Chatterton responded,

“The point of the weekend was to learn how to form a business plan and pitch it. We had a fantastic idea but didn’t to sell it to the judges. We can and will learn from that. What we have gained is a battle-hardened team that works together well (even under tremendous pressure) and shares a single vision of how we are going to change the world. That’s a prize higher than any of the official prizes. I must also point out that the winning team did have an amazing physical product with a real WOW factor (and a great bunch of people). Second place was to a team which identified one of the most lucrative markets on the internet is not been served here (and also a great bunch of people).

We, on the other hand, are tackling one of the most difficult problems in modern society world-wide. Judging in terms of which is most likely to succeed as a business, which is the criteria for Startup Weekends worldwide, we do have more challenges. Third place for a social innovation concept against such strong business cases is not something to be ashamed of”.

The judges commented that they had to go with their gut in terms of what business plan would make money, be competitive and be viable as a business.  This is something critical to bear in mind for our next Startup Weekend Harare participants!

The next Startup Weekend will take place this November 21-23 at Hypercube Hub, and competitors are challenged to learn from these lessons and up their game.  The stakes are even higher this time: teams will be competing not only with others in Zimbabwe, but also with teams across the region and the world as this event will be part of Startupweekend.org’s Global Startup Battle.  What is Global Startup Battle?  Stay tuned for our next post for more details!

Want to know more about Startup Weekend Harare May 2014?  Check out this ten minute video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dx42IpI7IM4&feature=em-share_video_user