mHub and  Her Liberty dangle K20 million in Entrepreneurs’ Challenge

The  mHub, Malawi’s first ever technology hub has teamed up with Her Liberty organization in a K20 million entrepreneurship challenge which seeks to identify bankable business plans by the youth.

SibandeMhub CEO : identifying and supporting innovative

The challenge dubbed “What Will Do with K20 Million Challenge”, aims at applying innovation and entrepreneurship as a catalyst for socio-economic development, job creation and youth empowerment.

Chief Executive Officer for mHub, Rachel Sibande said that the challenge was aimed at identifying and supporting innovative local business ideas that can create social impact in communities and foster job creation.

The challenge started in March 2017 and will receive applications up to 31st July 2017.

“The overall objective of the challenge is to enable entrepreneurs in Malawi to be key drivers of the economy. Through the contest, young SMEs stand a chance to boost their capital with a total of K20 million and enhance their knowledge in business and financial management through an intensive one week training for the winners,” Sibande said.

Sibande said the criteria for the winning entrepreneurship pitches included business concept, strategy, value proposition, and quality of the product, financial soundness and social returns.

The mHub CEO also said that the “What Will Do with K20 Million Challenge” was designed to respond to the problem of unemployment and poverty which Malawi’s youthful population is grappling with.

Currently, 80% of Malawi’s 17-million population is made up of youth below 35 years of age. But according to the National Statistical Labour Force, the rate of unemployment hovers at 21 percent and affects this youth population the most.

“The youthful population continues to suffer the effects of the economic crisis and without a robust job creation systematic model in place, we fail to reap the demographic dividend that would foster economic development for the country”.

Meanwhile, the challenge has received support from Standard Bank which has pledged to invest K10 million (U$14,000) as seed capital to kick-start the challenge.

“We are grateful to Standard Bank for coming forward to partner us in this initiative. Standard Bank is committed to be a bank of choice when it comes to creating a platform for empowering the youth and SME’s and this was demonstrated in March when the bank co-hosted the Malawi Social Economic Forum on Youth Entrepreneurship in Lilongwe,” added Sibande.

The K20 million seed capital is expected to kick-start six business ideas from young entrepreneurs who will emerge winners at the challenge. The criteria for the winning entrepreneurship pitches include business concept, strategy, value proposition, and quality of the product, financial soundness and social returns.

This challenge is a partnership of Her Liberty, a Malawian organization that empowers disadvantaged young women, and mHub, Malawi’s first incubator for emerging young entrepreneurs.

mHub nurtures emerging innovators and entrepreneurs to build sustainable business solutions. The hub has reached out to over 4,200 young people with trainings in entrepreneurship, digital skills such as web applications, mobile applications, games and animations development and advanced technology skills.  The hub incubates 12 emerging entrepreneurs in technology, media, architecture and agribusiness among others.

Her Liberty is an organization that works to empower and mentor socially disadvantaged girls and women. It aims to equip and train them to be self-reliant and economically independent. Her Liberty works with a bigger regional network on youth-related issues pertaining to youth development and entrepreneurship under a network called AfriYAN (African Youth and Adolescent Network).

While Lilongwe Pitch Night platform is a flagship program for mHub. The platform has featured over 70 emerging entrepreneurs, pitching business ideas to would be investors and potential clients. Cumulatively, the Lilongwe Pitch Night platform has attracted audiences of over 1700 people in one year and two months.

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