Updated: Nov 15
Agriculture is the backbone of Zimbabwe’s economy, its activities provide employment and income for 60-70 percent of the population, supplies 60 percent of the raw materials required by the industrial sector and contributes 40 percent of total export earnings. Agriculture contributes approximately 17 percent to Zimbabwe’s GDP. (Source FAO)
The performance of farmers affects the livelihood of many in the country. The VIA learners from Hippo Valley High School, having seen this, took it upon themselves to make contributions to the agricultural sector, solving a challenge that has been affecting the output of local farmers in their community.
The Grain Shelling Machine is an exciting initiative from the Hippo Valley VIA Team, which comprises of the learners Tafadzwa Manyanye who is the Chief Executive Officer, John Mupenzwa the Human Resource Manager, Peter Mupenzwa the Finance Manager, King C Chanakira the Production Manager and Tinokunda Musariri the Marketing Manager!
The team received their seed money from Deloitte on the 8th of October as they were preparing for a VIA Circle which was scheduled for 11 October. When the EA team visited them to attend their VIA Circle, the learners were advised to think of other off season activities as their main business venture is seasonal.
Taking heed of the advise, they started looking into producing stock feeds with the shells that are a by-product of shelling process. They will use these to create a mixture with molasis.
The team says that their most excitement achievement was the field trip their business took to Mupinga on the 23rd of October. Reaching out to farmers during this field trip was part of their marketing strategy, and they started building and nurturing business relationship with their potential customers. Also being able to hold a workshop with learners at their school and telling them about their story and how their journey started was an experience of a lifetime for them.
When asked how their journey has been so far, from the National Business Case Competitions (NBCC) to the Virtual Innovation Accelerator (VIA), the learners said the journey has been overwhelming but really exiting. "The bases of our entrepreneurial skills started to be modelled at the NBCC. Our school head, teacher mentor and even families started to support us which in a way empowered us not to let the opportunity go. It is not easy to run a business and it is even harder to run a business in Zimbabwe, however at our age we can firmly say we are doing it confidentially," said the team leader and CEO Tafadzwa Manyanye.
Some of the team members have gone on to start their undergrad degrees at the University of Zimbabwe, National University of Science and Technology and the Midlands State University. This shift of places between team members changed how they were operating, but they have found ways to continue pushing their business venture.
This months of November, the team plans to:
Acquire the machine
Produce and sell of food stocks
Register the company and put all paperwork in order
The learners, as well as the team here at Emergination Africa are grateful to the industry leaders and professionals who continue to volunteer their time and expertise to help these learners turn their ideas into promising business ventures. Special mention to their advisors Kurt Siegel, Annika Fichtner, Sybille Kuske and Lena Lickteig, thank you!