The Zimbabwean government says it has availed $7 million for the Innovation Drive an initiative that seeks to fund ICT Startups in Zimbabwe.The Innovation Drive seeks to give $25 million to the innovators whose applications would have been accepted.
Speaking at the Cyber Security Workshop organised by the Zimbabwe Information Communication Technologies, ICT Postal and Courier Services minister Supa Mandiwanzira said the money is being availed through the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory of Zimbabwe (Potraz)’s Universal Services Fund.
Mandiwanzira hinted that they managed to put aside $7 million out of the total $25 million.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
So we are raising money with the support of all the networks in the country. And we have raised so far $7 million. That is now available through the Universal Services Fund.
We want people with ideas around cyber security and develop products or services in that regard, they must approach Potraz inorder to access that fund,” he said.
USF is a pool of financial contributions made by all telecoms operators in Zimbabwe which is collected and managed by the telecoms regulator, POTRAZ.
Operators contribute a percentage of their gross revenues to the USF with the understanding that it will be used to facilitate investments in areas such as remote parts of Zimbabwe where operators might neglect their efforts because of weak business cases.
“We as a Ministry, we have initiated a project called Innovation drive. The innovation drive is being implemented by the Postal, Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe and its an initiative of the ministry. What we have said is that we want the young or old people with innovations or with ability to do something around ICTs, telecoms and the space that we superintend over,” he said.
At least 185 local startups have applied for the revolving fund and Potraz is now going in to a phase of selecting the most competent ones. A panel of industry experts will adjudicating the applications.
Potraz director-general Dr Gift Machengete in a recent interview with TechnoMag said this was only the first batch and those who did not make it will be reconsidered after the initial assessment as they seek to support and promote as many young innovators.