Zimbabwe: The Case for Business Incubators and Innovation Hubs

Economic development is something every nation desires, for overall economic prosperity should result in the general well-being of its people. Business incubators and innovation hubs are a very practical tool for bringing the best ideas to life and to a point of scale and commercialisation.

The world’s leading institution on advancing business incubation, NBIA; defines the goal of incubation as “to produce successful firms that will leave the programme financially viable and freestanding . . . with the potential to create jobs, revitalise neighbourhoods, and strengthen local and national economies”. Innovation spaces are in many locations the hub of economic development activity and the key cog in the obtaining entrepreneurial ecosystem – in fact, they should be.

They are a positive jack of all trades, well positioned to contribute at the micro and macro levels as well as ensure that all stakeholders speak to each other towards a common economic goal. They are intermediaries, intercessors, middlemen with the aptitude to, in one moment engage in policy related or high-level strategic dialogue with Government, civil institutions and private corporations; and the other look into advising on the optimum economic model for a start-up.

They can be excellent implementers of obtaining policy, (in our case, the Zim-Asset), as they are able to understand and deal with their community as a special, unique client. It is their mandate to understand the structure of the market, and the subsequent “customer” needs in their geographic locations. As a colleague of mine said, innovation is usually found in the fringes, and indeed, incubators/innovation spaces can easily locate themselves there.

Points of Leverage

Mobile money and mobile penetration is a big thing in our region, and I daresay must be the bedrock upon which much of Zimbabwean and Southern African innovation must occur, in addition to being a strong influencer of payment and marketing channels for non tech start-ups and small businesses.

[…] Read the whole article at herald.co.zw/the-case-for-business-incubators-and-innovation-hubs.

Kudzai M MubaiwaKudzai M Mubaiwa is an economic development professional and managing consultant of InvestorSaint Pvt Ltd, a financial education company. She is also a certified incubator manager and cofounder of iZone, a mixed use incubation program that provides a platform for capacity building of youth and women enterprise owners in the digital age. She has participated in and presented at economic development and innovation/tech platforms in East and Southern Africa, Asia, North America and Europe. 

Contact: [e] Kudzai@inversorsaint.co.zw | [t] @kumub

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