Old Mutual Launches Innovation Hub for Young Entrepreneurs.

By Tafadzwa Mupfururirwa.

Minister Kirsty Coventry (R) tours the Innovation Hub accompanied by Old Mutual executives.
The country’s leading financial services provider Old Mutual, has launched the Eight2Five Innovation Hub in partnership with Udugu Institute. The Hub will capacitate youth-run start-ups while increasing innovation capabilities within the business. Through the Hub, Old Mutual will also build its product offering through partnerships with start-ups and entrepreneurs.
Udugu Institute seeks to create an institute that allows young innovators and innovation to thrive as they work to create the future of Africa, and its partnership with Old Mutual will drive this vision forward.
Innovation is the cornerstone of Old Mutual. Sam Matsekete, Old Mutual Group CEO, shared that the launch of Eight2Five signifies an essential element of Old Mutual’s evolution as a business. “Current times are changing very fast, demanding more to be done and achieved in less time. There seem to be more complexities, demanding more solutions,” he said. “Therein lies the biggest opportunity of today: to innovate and continue to innovate solutions. Innovation should be the cornerstone of any organization that has the customer at heart. By innovating, we continue to create value for the benefit of customers and all stakeholders.”
Honourable Kirsty Coventry, Minister of Youth, Sports, Art and Recreation applauded Old Mutual for believing in the youth of Zimbabwe, and providing them with a Hub that is world-class standard. Young Zimbabweans are adaptable and are consistently working to transform their lives, and to shine on the global stage despite challenges.
“Talent is equally spread but the opportunity is not. By launching Eight2Five, Old Mutual is creating an opportunity for young people, and it’s up to them to grab the opportunity with both hands and run with it. You may stumble and fall, but the Old Mutual team is here to help you over the finish line,” she said.
Honourable Coventry encouraged young people to innovate, take new opportunities that arise, and develop them. The older generation also has a critical role in teaching and developing young people, opening their minds to different ways of thinking. The Ministry of Youth, Sports, Art, and Recreation will be a key partner in the growth of the Hub and the development of youth.
Based at 3 Anchor House in Harare, the Hub will house young entrepreneurs representing various sectors, including insurance technology, financial technology and the creative sector. Old Mutual plans to expand the concept into other major cities, as well as increase its programmes, in order to accommodate those in the informal sector who are currently marginalised.
The Hub provides a co-working space that includes hot desks, private offices, meeting rooms, a cafeteria as well as an auditorium for hosting events. The Hub will also run incubation programmes that assist start-ups to formalise their businesses and acceleration programmes that will help small businesses get to the next level and prepare for investor engagement.
Lillian Mbayiwa, Old Mutual Head of Group Marketing and Innovation, reinforced why the Eight2Five Hub launch is important to Old Mutual and its customer-centric vision.
“Without customers, we become irrelevant. Customer needs are continually changing. The product, service or idea we offer may be exactly what our customer needs today, but tomorrow they may need something else. In order to stay on top of our customer’s needs, we saw it fit to create a catalyst that will incubate our innovations,” she said.
“Through the innovative ideas the Hub will generate, we hope to see market changes coming from a distance so that we can provide solutions for customer problems before they even know they need them. You cannot meet the needs of customers long-term unless you recognize the importance of innovation and act on it. The Eight 2Five innovation Hub is meant to find and develop new ideas not only to keep our valuable customers engaged but also to steer the nation’s economy towards a brighter and more successful future.”
In creating Eight2Five, Old Mutual sought the voices of young entrepreneurs, who were instrumental in identifying the challenges facing them and their needs from an impactful Hub. Old Mutual has listened to the invaluable feedback and set programming at the Hub in motion. This began with the Value Creation Challenge, which was held in partnership with the British Council from 2019 until mid-2020.
The Value Creation Challenge assisted entrepreneurs to access seed capital, mentorship, and business support for their businesses.  The challenge’s 3 winning companies have been awarded their seed capital, and are now entering an acceleration programme run by Stimulus Africa at the Eight2Five Hub. This ensures that these entrepreneurs are assisted to make financially sound decisions that will further capacitate their businesses. Old Mutual is currently finalising the 2021 Value Creation Challenge, which will be announced on social media and in the press at the beginning of 2021.p

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