Stanbic Bank recently launched an incubation/innovation hub which is set to provide support to young Zimbabwean entrepreneurs from the conception of ideas through to the financing of the projects, offering an ideal place to work and develop both the entrepreneurs and their ideas. Speaking at the launch of the hub, Stanbic Bank non-executive director Mrs. Nellie Tiyago-Jinjika said the introduction of the hub was is part of the Bank’s efforts to complement the central bank’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy which seeks to assist 43% of small to medium enterprises who do not have access to financial services.
“The Incubator Program is strategically structured, and its objectives include empowering and growing small business ventures and encouraging innovativeness in Youths. The hub is equipped to address challenges faced by enterprise businesses such as lack of business and financial management skills; lack of collateral; poor access to markets; and poor corporate governance structures,” said Tiyago-Jinjika. She said Stanbic Bank is cognisant of the fact that ‘lack of access to funding” was not the only cause of business failure for small enterprises with other challenges including lack of access to financial consultancy, lack of networks, unskilled management or leadership, hence it is on hand to assist on that front through the Incubator Program.
In that regard, beneficiaries of the program will be exposed to carefully structured activities such as coaching and mentoring, consultancy, training, access to markets and provision of funding to ensure sustainable growth and development of the businesses. “As a leading financial services institution in Africa, it is our obligation to drive the growth of our country by bridging these gaps using our expertise garnered from our giant African footprint and over 50 years of experience…We are ready to support enterprise players in various industries which include but are not limited to the manufacturing, green innovation, information, and communications technologies and even exporting business,” said Tiago-Jinjika.
The incubator will run under five pillars – ideation, incubation, acceleration, ecosystem and financial inclusion. These pillars are meant to address the challenges that are faced by budding entrepreneurs when starting or scaling up their businesses. The Bank’s push is to provide access to funding, markets, networking, financial literacy as well as access to advisory services, coaching and mentoring. This hub is open to entrepreneurs across all industries. Situated at the corner of 6th Avenue and Herbert Chitepo Avenue in Harare’s CBD, the hub is open from Monday to Friday (8 am to 6 pm) and on Saturdays from 8 am till noon.
The design of the building housing the innovation hub is modern and what the youngsters might refer to as ‘cool’, perfect with the hub’s hip and clean look. The furniture contributes a touch of class to the overall style as it is as contemporary as all the fittings, lights and vibrant wall designs. The floors were done by Beneath Your Feet and stretch all the way out to the deck outside, flawlessly connecting the exterior and interior.
For the Stanbic Bank Incubation program:
Stanbic Bank and non-Stanbic bank account holders can access the hub. There are charging ports around the room, supporting the use of technology in every inch of the room. Meeting rooms are available subject to booking for those who wish to hold closed-door meetings at the hub. Stanbic Bank customers get unlimited access to the hub and WiFi while Non-Stanbic Bank customers can access the hub for2 hours daily and free WiFi access. The Bank reserves all admission rights.