Project Updates (Q2 2015)

Project Updates (Q2 2015)

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, we think it’s important to inform you and be open about what we’re working on and 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

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 18 months 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 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 2015 Quarter 2 report. Enjoy!


CMedia. As we mentioned to you last month, we’re proud and pumped about the steam CMedia’s team has built up. The Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) named CMedia the most innovative company of the year in Zimbabwe. CMedia is poking the box in Zambia and touring a few opportunities there. They’re also working in cohorts with one of the local marketing gurus on a show for TV and online accessibility that will have a continental reach.

Cotrade Industrial Solutions. Cotrade has brought on a new product line of fog machines manufactured in South Africa. The machines are being tested at 3 mines from their current clients. This will open up a new and improved method of suppressing dust and giving sustainable, environmental-friendly solutions for mines across the country. Can’t beat that.

Entrepreneur Development Centre (Harare). Loads of interest but need the right partner and funding fit. We are talking with a few NGOs and corporates and will have some movement on this soon.

Global Digital Village (GDV). We mentioned this name to you in last Quarter’s update. Lots happening daily from financing and entity structuring to marketing and sales channel development. The company is flying in stealth mode, which means we can’t share much with you. But when we can, you’ll be the first to know the specifics.

Educate. Looking into opening an arm of this micro finance company that will give scholarships to underprivileged children as a give-back campaign. As we do with our humanitarian efforts, we'll partner with celebrate.org and Global Shapers to give more children the opportunity to get world-class education. The company continues to tick along nicely, paying back the original principal with interest—always on time! And they have a default rate that is better than most first world initiatives. We’re looking to pour more gasoline on their investment fire, which will see Educate raising more funding soon.

Pitch Nights Zimbabwe. This community is becoming powerful. June’s Pitch Night saw the developers for Vigil Tech, a car wash outsourcing app, given a high powered distribution network from an audience attendee. Telecel management also gave each app the surety of being on the free data package when clients use their app. The participation and collaboration happening underground (in our venue The Basement) is having an earthquake effect. A genuine camaraderie is continually being forged. We’re looking at expanding the event to other cities around the nation in the coming year.

Our humanitarian efforts this quarter helped drill a solar paneled, deep borehole for some orphans at Kadoma (a borehole is a type of water well for those in the West). We’re very excited about this! Clean water is a large need in Zim, so we’re looking to expand this effort to more boreholes this quarter.

There seems to be an increase in queries for a variety of goods (electronics accessories, eyewear, vitamins and supplementation, and more). We’re looking into a potential distribution structuring where we could help be ambassadors to distributors that are looking to the region as a place to do business.

Put a feather in our caps, failed or stalled projects:

Tulsa Entrepreneur Village (TULEV) (USA)—We mentioned last quarter that we had a final meeting with the building owner to go over specific details and present our full plan. In order to make this project attractive to investors, we needed to have a favorable lease for 15 years. The property owners didn’t quite understand our vision and our gut feel wasn’t positive. So both parties agreed to part ways at this time. The cool thing is, there’s a domino effect happening when you step out and try something crazy and new. So another local organization wants to try a similar vision in a depleted part of Tulsa. We’ll support from a distance and advise if they need us to.

As is the nature in anything when you’re starting out, it just takes time. It will take time for outside investors to trust entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe and as financing happens, it will take consistent good results for that trust to be strengthened. It’s a long-term play, but building, developing, and ultimately sustaining is not easy or quick work. But that doesn’t stop a motivated bunch like our group!

A notable mention & a few speaking engagements:

Our business conference in May went well. We had a good turn out and our keynote speaker taught us all how to work from the inside out rather than allowing external forces to dictate our decisions and how we live our lives. That was a life changing session for many of the attendees.

Tim is hosting a strategy and vision event for the young professionals of Tulsa next week. Tommy is doing a leadership training in Botswana later this month.

We’re taking this quarter a bit slower on travels and speaking due to a new addition to the family team on Tommy’s side arriving soon! That brings the total to 7 kids between the both of us. We’re not sure what’s keeping more pace—the number of businesses we’ve started or number of children we’ve had! A few of our entrepreneurs have also had children recently. Our worlds are definitely expanding.

Thanks for reading. If you have any questions or thoughts, feel free to drop us a note by hitting reply (if this is in your email) or by hopping over to Twitter and saying hello. We look forward to connecting with you.

Cheers everyone,

Tommy & Tim and the rest of the growing Emerging Ideas family

(photo via christiaan triebert)