Project Updates Q1 2016

Project Updates Q1 2016

It’s that time again for our quarterly review. For those new to our tribe, we write these updates every few months to show you what we’ve been working on.

The disclaimer: One of our guiding principles that we seek to implement as a group is transparency. As we work with entrepreneurs and their companies, and build companies of our own, we think it’s important to inform you about what we’re working on, as well as how it’s going. At the end of each Quarter, we’ve written reviews showcasing what projects we’re working on and the status of those. If you’ve followed closely, you’ve noticed that some projects went very well and some have flat-out failed. We think that’s part of it and we’re not going to hide those stories from you, no matter how failure makes us feel in our personal lives (read more about our thoughts on fostering failure here and here and here and here).

Here’s a list of some of our past project updates:
2012 Q4
2013 Q1
2013 Q2
2013 Q3
2013 Annual Review
2014 Q1
2014 Q2
2014 Q3
2014 Annual Review
2015 Q1
2015 Q2
2015 Q3
2015 Q4 Annual Review Part 2

Due to our growing portfolio and list of things our team is cooking up, we’ll give you updates on the things that have had movement this quarter. If no movement, then you won’t see it in the list. For a full list on the projects we have going, click here. So for example, we built The Basement exactly two years ago, it’s the first modern youth hall in Zimbabwe. There’s not much to update you on with a physical building space other than it’s still runs, hosts weekly events, and is cash flow positive. So we’ll file that in a list of projects on our site.

Ok enough of that…

So here is our 2016 Quarter 1 Review report. Enjoy!

Has 2016 been cruising by? Have you felt that? We certainly have. It’s blazing and it seems like the world is ripe with opportunity, struggle, and real conversations around every corner. For every success story we hear, there are tragic ones too. Keeping focused on helping those in our world as best we can, keeps us expanded and not tied down to the results of a bank account or revenue stream.

Don’t get us wrong, those are pivotal to maintaining longterm success and being able to make a real difference in the world, but people always come first over profits. At least they should.

These updates are as detailed and specific as we can be. You must keep in mind that there is a strong ebb and flow to doing business in the developing world. We may work intensely on a project, then there’s a waiting period, then back to the grind. It’s like a Chinese acrobat spinning 15 plates at once. He gets the first few spinning, then runs back to the next and keeps them balanced. Do you ever feel like that?

Take a look below, and don’t be shy, drop us a note. We look forward to chatting with you.

CMedia—Video Production Company

We're on the verge of releasing a brand new TV show, and we're gearing up production to do a few more. Stay tuned for a sneak peak of what's to come—the show is a blend of inspiration, education, humor and deal making. A short video we did for Zimbabwe Gymnastics just won an IO award, which was a nice surprise. A few members of our crew are headed to London and then the US as we work on a documentary that has the potential to help millions of people. The studio renovations are forcing everyone in the team to get very close in a temporary small side room in our building. But the sacrifice will be well worth it. We’ll be sure to share some pictures with you when it’s finished.

CoTrade—Mining Supplies & Dust Suppression

Mining managers and procurement officers are always on the move. A friend of ours who used to be a client representing an old mine has just commissioned Cotrade for a very lengthy project. Orders are coming through and some progress gears have kicked in.

Educate—Educating The Nation

The diligence of this team is paying off. A few of the board members are off to the World Economic Forum in Kigali, Rwanda. The debt funding options are growing and at this point it's all about values and good partnership. The sails of this ship are growing and so is the wind that's moving it. The team here has bootstrapped better than any we’ve seen. They negotiate smart, give big, and work extremely hard.

GDV—Rural Internet Connectivity.

Not much to update here, but there are lots of partnerships being set up for when the trigger is pulled.

Pitch Nights—Zimbabwe And Beyond.

A great night in Bulawayo awaits. This is where we'll be focusing the next few months of Pitch Nights. A few bids from corporates are in for Harare Pitch Nights but we're still deciding on whether or not we want to run 2 simultaneously, while also pulling together the TV show element of it all.

Housing Project

The rains are pretty much over in Zimbabwe, so the sleeping giant will begin to move again.

We’re working with the nonprofit team here to put together a medical shipment that will provide support for 6 rural clinics within driving distance of Harare. The USA-based partners are keen to do more as the project fleshes out, so we may turn this into a regular initiative. We’ve also been working with a team of developers to build a in-house fundraising platform that will allow us to launch many more nonprofit programs, support church work, and humanitarian efforts in the nation. This will launch in Q2 of this year.

Radio Show

Where’d it go? We used to have a radio show. We don't anymore. The slot is still there, but we're really focusing more on the companies and entrepreneurs that we've taken under our wing. We’ve had to make some hard decisions on our community efforts as the need is always there. We’ll be able to do more as the companies and projects we've invested in reach their full potential. Alas, we only have 24 hours in a day like you, so we’re striving to be as effective as we can in what we put our time towards.

Clean Water

We’ve been all over the USA and southern Africa looking for the best water solutions. We’ve watched documentaries, YouTube videos for hours, and spoken to the experts. We’ve talked to the Zimbos who have created self-sustainable water solutions and the oil and gas businessmen who have created patented handtools that can even drill through bedrock. We have now conducted nearly 30 geological surveys across southern Zimbabwe in search of the right climate for a water solution. We have partners and financials committed to help, but we haven’t found the right mix just yet. It’s a little frustrating, but it’s all part of the process. Providing a scalable solution to giving people a basic need is not so easy and straightforward. But we’ll keep trying.

A Few New Ideas Cooking

  • The power crisis in Zimbabwe is an ever-looming issue. We’re working on a couple of fun projects that are both grid-based and solar focused.
  • TV Shows: Concepts & Development flowing. We have two scripts out for review right now and two shows under contract. Lots of media to watch soon!
  • Import/Export: We sent out a small test batch of green coffee beans over to our friends in the Midwest USA. A full report on this in Q2.

According to Lisa Earl McCleod’s book Leading with Noble Purpose, companies that put purpose first are more profitable than firms that prioritize profits. Your company must look at how you can make a difference in your community and your industry. This Quarter, we’re continuing that theme. We want to make a big difference and want our entrepreneurs to be the leaders of this conversation in their industries and their communities (and a few of them already are). It sounds idealistic, but we’re seeing it make a difference for our employees, the schools we’re helping, the communities we’re providing medical care and water for, the hope that many people are receiving, and the inspiration that you provide us with regarding your efforts and encouragement as we all strive to make our nation and our world a better place.

Thanks for reading and we’ll talk to you soon.

Tommy & Tim and the Emerging Ideas Family

(photo via jeff krause)