One of our guiding principles that we seek to implement as a group is transparency. As we work with entrepreneurs and 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 quarterly 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).
Here’s a list of some of our past project updates:
2013 Annual Review
Due to our growing portfolio and list of things our team is cooking up, we need to reorganize the way this update is structured. So instead of the linear approach of we did this, and this, and this, we’ll segment this out by pressing news and updates.
So for example, we built The Basement exactly a year 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 toward the end of the post.
Ok enough of that…
So here is our 2014 Quarter 3 report. Enjoy!
CMedia, our TV production company—We are working on some of the greatest stories in technology, infrastructure development, and startups. One of the things that has differentiated us as a video media company is deep conviction to story telling. It's helping us choose our clients and helping companies with their real message. Anyone can make a video, but it requires art to tell a story. Ben Deuschle has moved from Brothers & Co. in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA to Harare, Zimbabwe to be one of our lead producers. Execution levels are skyrocketing and our corporate culture is more creative and collaborative as a result. Here's one of the clips we worked on for the ZOL Startup Challenge.
TechZim—ZOL Start-Up Challenge from C MEDIA on Vimeo.
Startup Pitch Nights, Harare—Sponsors are knocking on our doors and we're looking at growing the Pitch Nights in two new cities. 31 entrepreneurs have pitched their ideas to this growing engaged community. Because of its success, we've begun to punt the tagline for what our city could look like. “Harare: The City Of Collaborative Brilliance." It's catching on fast. This month, we'll have Nigel Chanakira do the power talk and Sai Sai Wireless, one of the winners of demo Africa, will have their CEO presenting. We have a few interesting media opportunities for Pitch Night which will be in our Q4 update.
Educate—Three schools have signed on as partners, 60+ students are being financed for their education, and there is revenue. We're exploring partnerships with ExWorks Capital to fund Zimbabwean students who want to study in the United States. More to come on this later.
Entrepreneurship Development Centre—Looking for the right location and getting the right partners on this is key. We don't want to open up a space that is has a clinical or sterile atmosphere. The vibe we create here is key to the vision of Collaborative Brilliance. We have two buildings on our radar that would work and have a few funding proposals on people's desks, but we are not trying to force this to happen. The wrong partner and wrong space wouldn't be worth it.
No updated news:
The Basement, the first modern youth hall in Zimbabwe—still hosting events weekly and cash flowing, which sustains a local youth group. Our monthly pitch night events are the highlight of the space.
Cotrade Industrial Supplies—A few new consulting jobs came through Cotrade this past quarter. All of them leading up to bigger annual contracts which will get our cash flows back on track. The mining current mining industry is like lion that's just had a go at a porcupine. It's still strong but a little weary. The confidence is starting to rise once more.
1 Million Cups Tulsa (USA)—is still going strong and meeting weekly. We’re celebrating the first birthday of 1 Million Cups Tulsa this upcoming week. When we started, no one would have thought there were so many entrepreneurs and startups in the area, yet a year later and we’ve had almost 100 startups present in total. We’ve seen relationships, investment cultivated, new business facilitated, and a lot of coffee consumed. We’ve brought on two new team members and we’ll look to take a step back from direct involvement with this event weekly as it is self-sustaining and we have an awesome and strong team around it.
Tulsa Startup Village (TULSV) (USA)—we announced this project at a recent 1 Million Cups event and will be putting together a full write-up when the investor package is ready. There are a number of old buildings along the historic Route 66 road in downtown Tulsa. They are all brick, in need of some love, but perfect to allow entrepreneurs to build their companies there. This will be a space for collaboration, incubation, and will give entrepreneurs a cheaper place to test their companies and extend that startup runway until their companies can take flight. We’ll have our financial numbers together next month and look to make headway on this in early 2015.
Deal flow seems to be picking up nicely as we hosted a few of our financial partners in Africa recently. The conversations are flowing and it’s nice to see some forward thinkers outside of the region showing interest in working with local entrepreneurs. As we wrote earlier this week, we don’t advocate foreign investment that pillages the local economies and shows no long-term plan for in-country development. These deals will be direct investments into local companies run by local entrepreneurs.
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.
It’s a roller coaster ride, but we love roller coasters.
A notable mention & a few speaking engagements:
Ending 2014 and heading into 2015 is shaping up to be a fast and furious new year for us. We have the privilege of rebranding and developing an expansion plan for a well-known, non-profit in Zimbabwe. We’ve seen preliminary efforts already produce great results on a few philanthropic projects we had the pleasure of bringing involved in (i.e. running the logistics for expansion of the only children’s hospital in the nation, as well as climbing Kilimanjaro).
A few failed and stalled projects (put a feather in our caps)—this section usually has something in it. We haven’t thrown anything over here this quarter, but we are working on a post of all the things we’ve tried and have failed or stalled, which should be fun.
DreamStart Entrepreneur Conference, Nov. 15—Tim is doing a workshop at this event in Tulsa. He’ll be speaking on “How to validate your idea?” If you’re in the midwest USA, join us Saturday Nov. 15th from 10am to 4:30pm. Details here.
Global Entrepreneurship Week, Nov. 15-22—plan on supporting your local entrepreneur events this week. There will be tons of events around so be sure to get out, connect with others, and help your fellow entrepreneurs raise the level of their game.
Last update we told you of our grand plan to scale 19,341 feet to the top of Kilimanjaro! Partnering with Celebrate International to raise money for a project called Project: Relocation. It's a cluster community for orphans, where 60 kids will live with foster families and grow up in an active and loving environment as opposed to an orphanage. It’s also scalable where we can build a new cluster home as the need arises, which we love.
Well, here’s the update on our Kilimanjaro climb. We made it and Celebrate International has now secured the land to build upon as well as nearly $100k to put toward the physical construction of the new children’s homes.
Oh the mountain? Yeah, it was big, cold, and absolutely breathtaking (in all senses of the word). Our feature photo up top is from our fearless CMedia team who climbed with us and captured the entire thing even at negative temperatures.
Next adventure is later this week, the CEO of Thou Mayest Coffee Co. is getting hitched! So we’ll be having a manly rendezvous to celebrate the special day.
Lots is moving quickly, but we look forward to our Q4 update for you. 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.
Tommy & Tim and the rest of the Emerging Ideas family
(photo via ben deuschle & cmedia)