“TechFest is a blueprint” says Big Time Strategic Group CEO, Justice Maphosa.
As the tech-centric festival, TechFest, rolled into its penultimate day, the event’s sponsor, the CEO of the South-African based Big Time Strategic Group reflected on its significance as a ‘blueprint’ that could be applied to non-technological sectors. Maphosa remarked that based on the example set by the event, which not only showcased local technological innovation but also celebrated entrepreneurship, sectors such as engineering, financial, insurance and construction services could assemble and develop a similar platform to showcase their own offerings.
“TechFest is a white-paper document, TechFest is an example of what could be done in many other sectors,” he said.
During his opening remarks of the Technology Conference, TechCon, running as part of the festival’s numerous concurrent events, Maphosa also lamented the loss of young and innovative Zimbabwean minds to neighbouring countries such as South Africa.
“Why is South Africa running on Zimbabwe’s brains? Because Zimbabweans are reliable, educated, they’re trainable, they’ve got the right attitude and they want to succeed” he said, also noting that Zimbabwe’s growth rate, at 0.2 per cent, is ‘better’ than that of South Africa.
Maphosa’s comments reflected on how the young entrepreneurs need to start believing in their ability, likening it to how even in a desert a cactus grows. With Big Time Strategic Group’s commitment to growing Bulawayo and Zimbabwe as a whole, the youth have somewhere to draw motivation from. He also expressed that self-belief is key to transforming Zimbabwe for the better, and that infrastructure, although requiring some patching up, is available to be taken advantage of, and the start-ups that are exhibiting at TechFest are a testament to that.
“I’ve already identified a number of companies from TechFest that Big Time Strategic Group is interested in buying,” he added.
Maphosa also remarked that this year’s event has been a successful test-run and future festivals will be better-funded and draw in big-name companies such as Microsoft and Google.
“We wanted them to show us whether they believe in themselves, which is what we have seen. Next year, we bring in our gurus and technical teams to beef up and better the next TechFest,” he concluded.
Big Time’s actions are a challenge to Zimbabweans in the diaspora who lament the country’s current economic state but have not tried to reinvest in the nation. To trust the youth to rebuild what was lost. As long as Zimbabweans are unwilling to invest in their own country, foreign investors will always have doubts.
The Zimbabwe Investment status quo is similar to when one visits a house and gets offered food but the children who stay in that house refuse it. The guest is most likely not eat the food. However, Mr Maphosa just had the first mossel and hopefully, the other children will join in. Eventually the visitor will be confident enough to join in the meal.