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Vodacom boost for student entrepreneurs

Lijeng Ranooe

VODACOM Lesotho Foundation last week Wednesday awarded smart phones to 11 student entrepreneurs who participated in the Start-Up Weekend University Edition which was held at the National University of Lesotho (NUL).

Speaking at the handover ceremony, the Start-Up Weekend facilitator Teboho Seboka, said the students were part of three teams that won in the Edition. A total 12 ideas and innovations were validated by a panel of judges before only three finalists were selected for their outstanding creations.

Start-Up Weekend is the world’s largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with representation in over 195 cities in 65 countries around the world. The Non-profit initiative aims to provide the world’s premier experiential education for beginning and early stage entrepreneurs.

Sponsors of the event include National University of Lesotho, Google For Entrepreneurs, Vodacom Lesotho Foundation, Grind Nation, Maseru Plumbing and US Embassy through Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) grant.

On first position was Healthcare Systems Lesotho, which developed an electronic booklet system innovation aiming to store records of the history of patients’ illness. Another team, She Hacks came second with their idea to build the capacity of girls on coding using certain computer software while on third position was Rent-A-Bioskop, which initiated an online movie rental store for locally produced films.

Healthcare Systems Lesotho was awarded smartphones, a gigabyte data for three months and six months accelerator incubation training at the Vodacom Innovation Park. Each of the She Hacks and Rent-A-Shop team members received smart phones and a gigabyte data for three months.

In an interview with Sunday Express Start-Up Weekend facilitator Teboho Seboka said all the teams will be provided with office space for three months to facilitate further development of their innovations.

“The Start-Up Weekend provided the teams the opportunity to test their innovations and ideas, through processes including interviewing real clients, meeting with experienced coaches, and were able to present how they would pitch their ideas to investors. Following this process, some teams had managed to have functional prototypes, which they presented to the judges,” Mr Seboka said.

He said importantly, the students worked in teams to explore the resources, actions and relationships necessary to design and build new and unique businesses, which can meet the current economic and social needs,” he said.

He further explained that the Start-Up Weekend establishes itself as a sustainable initiative within every community it reaches, bringing together a powerful mix of communities’ most experienced, creative, and ambitious individuals from various sectors.

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