Old mutual launches youth innovation hub

Staff Reporter

 Financial services group Old Mutual Limited (OML) has unveiled Eight2Five, a value creation competition and co-innovation center in collaboration with the British Council.

Launched yesterday, Eight2five seeks to empower, house and finance start up companies and help them create and achieve growth.

Speaking at the launch event, OML group chief executive officer, Jonas Mushosho said they believe in the ability to create value. He said as technology and competition is changing, consumers have shifted and the ‘Eight2five value creation challenge’ will nurture the next big enterprises to come out of Zimbabwe.

“We believe in the ability to create value, and as technology and competition is changing, consumers are changing as well. So companies need to keep refreshing their customer position to stay relevant and ahead of competitive. The economic future of the nation and its investment in value creation and sustainable home grown solutions must not be taken as a luxury but as a key core in the turn around of the economy.

“My dream is that the next big enterprises that will shape and change Zimbabwe will be birthed and nurtured in this program. The challenge is more than just a competition, in our view this is a founding block for future big business which will lead to the wholesome economic growth of the nation,” he said.

The Eight2five value creation challenge is open to all youth from 18 to 34 years old. Individuals will apply presenting their innovative and impactful business ideas and selected individuals with sound business plans will receive seed capital, office space and business development services from OML through Eight2five.

Furthermore, the program will serve as a multi-disciplinary business hub for start-ups to create, collaborate, develop, and deliver futuristic business solutions.

Eight2five will focus on five key areas, data analytics, emerging technologies, climate action, architecture and design and young and funky.

He said startups may be small companies but they can play a significant role in economic growth. They create more jobs, which will translate to more employment, and more employment means an improved economy.

Startups have been known to contribute to economic vitality by encouraging innovation and infusing competition. New entrepreneurs have the potential to bring new ideas to the table, much needed to stir innovation and create competition.

Startups also have a reputation for directly impacting on the cities that they make their homes such as the change that Infosys bought to Bangalore, Alibaba changed Hangzhou, Microsoft changed Redmond and Google transformed Mountain View, California.

It is noteworthy that all the businesses mentioned above started small, but as they grew, they transformed the cities where they functioned. They improved employment, providing job opportunities to both experienced and young professionals.

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