Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha, a communications officer for HIVOS (full disclosure: HIVOS is one of Global Voices’ sponsors) explains why Zimbabwe must ditch the start-up pitch:
The start-up pitch, which involves making a rapid fire presentation of an idea followed by a question and answer session involving selected judges, is increasingly a waste of time and non-efficient in propagating the tech start up ecosystem in Zimbabwe.
The start-up pitch is based on the traditional business planning methodology and ignores the fact that start-ups are in essence an exercise in exploration, that cannot in an way provide full proof answers. One of the most mundane questions asked at start up pitches is: how will you make money? Really? Not all ideas are geared at making dollar bills from word go. The right question is how is your idea of service and how are you planning to grow it in that manner.
Understandably, tech entrepreneurship is a hit-or-miss proposition but using pitching as a determinant of entrepreneurial success especially in a tech deficient context like Zimbabwe is simply a wastage of time, passions and resources.
The reason why the pitch model is favoured is that it allows for the evaluation of a large number of ideas in a short period of time. But in sifting through many ideas in a short time, a lot is missed that is key to making an entrepreneurial idea succeed particularly in the Zimbabwean context where a lot of data that is key to the tech ideas is missing.