Vo­da­com boost for stu­dent en­trepreneurs

Sunday Express - - Business Journal -

VO­DA­COM Le­sotho Foun­da­tion last week Wed­nes­day awarded smart phones to 11 stu­dent en­trepreneurs who par­tic­i­pated in the Start-Up Week­end Univer­sity Edi­tion which was held at the Na­tional Univer­sity of Le­sotho (NUL).

Speak­ing at the han­dover cer­e­mony, the Start-Up Week­end fa­cil­i­ta­tor Te­boho Se­boka, said the stu­dents were part of three teams that won in the Edi­tion.

A to­tal 12 ideas and in­no­va­tions were val­i­dated by a panel of judges be­fore only three fi­nal­ists were se­lected for their out­stand­ing cre­ations.

Start-Up Week­end is the world’s largest com­mu­nity of pas­sion­ate en­trepreneurs with rep­re­sen­ta­tion in over 195 cities in 65 coun­tries around the world.

The Non-profit ini­tia­tive aims to pro­vide the world’s premier ex­pe­ri­en­tial ed­u­ca­tion for be­gin­ning and early stage en­trepreneurs.

Spon­sors of the event in­clude Na­tional Univer­sity of Le­sotho, Google For En­trepreneurs, Vo­da­com Le­sotho Foun­da­tion, Grind Na­tion, Maseru Plumb­ing and US Em­bassy through Young African Lead­ers Ini­tia­tive (YALI) grant.

On first po­si­tion was Health­care Sys­tems Le­sotho, which de­vel­oped an elec­tronic book­let sys­tem in­no­va­tion aim­ing to store records of the his­tory of pa­tients’ ill­ness.

An­other team, She Hacks came sec­ond with their idea to build the ca­pac­ity of girls on cod­ing us­ing cer­tain com­puter soft­ware while on third po­si­tion was Rent-A-Bioskop, which ini­ti­ated an on­line movie rental store for lo­cally pro­duced films.

Health­care Sys­tems Le­sotho was awarded smart­phones, a gi­ga­byte data for three months and six months ac­cel­er­a­tor in- cu­ba­tion train­ing at the Vo­da­com In­no­va­tion Park.

Each of the She Hacks and Rent-A-Shop team mem­bers re­ceived smart phones and a gi­ga­byte data for three months.

In an in­ter­view with Sun­day Ex­press Start-Up Week­end fa- cil­i­ta­tor Te­boho Se­boka said all the teams will be pro­vided with of­fice space for three months to fa­cil­i­tate fur­ther de­vel­op­ment of their in­no­va­tions.

“The Start-Up Week­end pro­vided the teams the op­por­tu­nity to test their in­no­va­tions and ideas, through pro­cesses in­clud­ing in­ter­view­ing real clients, meet­ing with ex­pe­ri­enced coaches, and were able to present how they would pitch their ideas to in­vestors. Fol­low­ing this process, some teams had man­aged to have func­tional pro­to­types, which they pre­sented to the judges,” Mr Se­boka said.

He said im­por­tantly, the stu­dents worked in teams to ex­plore the re­sources, ac­tions and re­la­tion­ships nec­es­sary to de­sign and build new and unique busi­nesses, which can meet the cur­rent eco­nomic and so­cial needs,” he said.

He fur­ther ex­plained that the Start-Up Week­end es­tab­lishes it­self as a sus­tain­able ini­tia­tive within ev­ery com­mu­nity it reaches, bring­ing to­gether a pow­er­ful mix of com­mu­ni­ties’ most ex­pe­ri­enced, cre­ative, and am­bi­tious in­di­vid­u­als from var­i­ous sec­tors.

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