By Tapiwa Marume
The Regional Company of the Year competition which was hosted by Junior Achievement Zimbabwe (JAZ) in collaboration with Junior Achievement Africa (JA Africa) starting from the 7th ended on a celebratory note at an awards dinner at the Rainbow Towers Hotel on Friday the 9th of December. The event was attended by a number of people from various quarters of society including NGOs, business and the government. The Minister of Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Patrick Zhuwao, Child President Tinaye Mbavari and Junior Achievement Worldwide President Asheesh Advani graced the occasion.
Keynote speaker at the event Tiguidanke Camara Chairwoman and CEO of Tigui Mining Group (TMG) and Camara Diamond & Gold Trading Network (CDGTN) encouraged students to believe in their dreams, have ambition, and be passionate about what they do before getting engrossed with monetary returns. “There is no field that is out of reach because the most important thing is passion, you have to love what you do first in order to succeed and that is what keeps me going”, she said. She stressed that there was no industry that the students could not break into and that nothing was impossible.
Giving herself as an example, the only woman with a mining company in West Africa, she challenged girls not to limit themselves to traditionally prescribed activities. “Do you know the rate of women entrepreneurs is higher in Africa than in any region in the world? The statistics show it”, she said. Girls may face cultural resistance and opposition in pursuing their dreams, so they need endurance and perseverance so that they never give up, she said. She started her company TGM in 2009 with a capital amounting to $100 000. Today her companies are worth $40 million.
The Signature Awards segment followed. The FedEx Access Award was won by team MULCOO from Kenya, Mike Higley (Managing Director, FedEx Southern Africa) presented the prize. Mike said the main criteria they had used in selecting the winner was on the extensive market research and demonstrated innovation by applying technology to solve a major problem in their community. The Kenyan team received iPads and a trophy.
Rachel Barber (Head of Community Development, Citi, EMEA) presented the Citi Client Focus Award which was won by The Bird’s Nest team from Botswana. The team received tablets and a trophy.
The Rogers Capital Entrepreneurial Spirit Award was presented by Babusha Beedassy (Marketing and Communication Manager, Rogers Capital) and the prize went to team E-Coco from Gabon. Team E-Coco makes decorative products from discarded coconut shells. The team won smart phones as well as a trophy.
Best CEO award was won by South Africa and the prize was presented by Tiguidanke Camara.
The Its Tyme Award was won by Express Gallery from Zambia and it was presented by Kuda Nyemba (President, Borrowdale Brooke Rotary Club).
The main event of the day, The Africa Region Junior Achievement Company Awards for 2016 followed after a presentation by Farai Mujoma who was representing the judges. He encouraged young entrepreneurs to consider areas such as finance, education, health and technology as the African population is set to grow significantly by 2050 implying a great need for employment creation to match the figures. For next year’s Junior Achievement competitions he advised students to come up with more technology based solutions since technology is practically taking over every sphere of life. He is currently studying at African Leadership University in Mauritius.
3rd prize went to MULCOO Company from Kenya. The company designed a multi-purpose bag called a ‘Wing bag’ which can be turned into a raincoat. When not in use the rain coat can be folded and concealed within the bag.
Mauritius won the 2nd prize for their effort in merging recycled materials, technology and emojis into a pillow.
The prestigious, most sought after prize which all the teams had their eyes on, the prize for the 1st position was scooped by Swaziland. This is the fourth time Swaziland has won the Company of the Year Competition. Honourable Patrick Zhuwao presented the prize.
Entertainment was provided by a local lovely singer with a golden crisp voice who is set to release her debut album next year. Her name is Vera and she is a young lady who does Afro fusion a genre that is continuing to attract an audience among all age groups across Africa. She was accompanied by Kuda who is an excellent solo guitar player. The audience was treated to some of her original compositions from her forth coming album as well as covers from yesteryear hits by Bob Marley and Miriam Makeba, both international icons. Radio personality Ruvheneko was the master of ceremony.