United States (US) Embassy Public Affairs officer Nicole Finnemann has applauded Zimbabwean youths for their resilience and enterprising spirits.
In an interview with TechnoMag, Finnemann said her two and half year tenure in Zimbabwe has been the most exciting and life changing throughout her 16 years long experience in different countries.
Out of eight countries, Zimbabwe has also been by far my favorite, why? Because the contagious, energizing spirit of young entrepreneurs it has been my privilege to engage here as this has infused me with a drive I didn’t know I was capable of.
“I have worked with, programmed, interviewed, and otherwise engaged with over 4,000 young entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe to date – most of whom work in a technology-related field, and I don’t think I have ever been more inspired in my life. Every single day a young Zimbabwean’s hustle is creating an income for someone to eat. Entrepreneurship has the power to convert this to a productive economy from the grass roots level and Zim’s brilliant, educated, and innovative minds are on the forefront of all those I have ever met across the five continents where I have worked” said Finnemann.
“Young leaders at that event blew away their senior counterparts in industry with their drive and the things they are doing on the ground here in Zimbabwe and to witness it, was extremely rewarding. I have had the honor of being in charge of the YALI Mandela Washington Fellowship selection process and engagement programming since I arrived in Zimbabwe, and as excruciatingly competitive as the selection process is, it is so amazing to see the fellows give back and want to share everything they gain from being fellows with their fellow countrymen.
“Working with tech and female entrepreneurs especially is also very rewarding. To share the journeys of those who have made the mistakes, experienced the failures, and learned the lessons of the start up scene in the U.S. with these audiences provides a great learning platform and is the thing I am most proud of my own countrymen for doing: the willingness to share, even if it means sharing our failure stories, if it means that others will benefit and learn. I have been able to bring 15 such experts to Zimbabwe in my time, traveling the countryside to speak to young audiences.”
She also applauded Innovative programs such as Baraza, the wonderful, REAL reality show Simba Savannah, YALI Expo, and Social Entrepreneurship Bootcamp, are programs I think provided a lot of value which she was a part of and executed from backstage.
“However, connecting young Zimbabweans to other young Zimbabweans they would otherwise not have met, but for whom they have value to provide and vice versa, is the single most rewarding effort on my part. If I know that you are working on a technology magazine, for example, and I can connect you with someone else in Zimbabwe for whom you can provide mutual benefit, it’s such a thrill to be able to make those connections. Throughout my engagement of thousands of young entrepreneurs here, I inevitably have seen it all and sometimes the only thing lacking, is being connected. It has been my honor to help make those connections.