Harare, May 9, 2014 – The United States Embassy is assisting a local tech-hub bring one of the world’s eminent entrepreneurs, Fahad Hassan, as it steps up efforts to enhance the potential of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in Zimbabwe, Ambassador Wharton announced on this week.
“We are bringing Forbes Top 40 young entrepreneur Fahad Hassan from the U.S. to Zimbabwe to serve as a mentor for the “Startup Weekend Harare” to be held in mid- May that even,” Ambassador Wharton to the “Zimbabwe Going Forward” Conference hosted by SAPES Trust, a local think-tank. “We are putting our money where our hopes are, because we know that Zimbabweans can launch new products, build new enterprises, and contribute to Zimbabwe’s economic development through ICT entrepreneurship.”
The U.S. Embassy partnered with Hivos and Indigo Trust to support the first technology hub in Zimbabwe, Hypercube Hub. The tech hub, which is based in Belgravia, Harare, and Mercy Corps will host ‘Startup Weekend Harare’ May 16-18th. Startup Weekend, which is a global initiative powered by Google for Entrepreneurs, is a non-profit organization based in Washington D.C. and hosts Startup Weekends all over the world.
Hassan will serve as a speaker and mentor during the workshop, which is expected to bring together developers, designers, marketers, product managers, and startup enthusiasts share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups.
Writing on his blog ahead of his visit to Zimbabwe, Hassan said he is “beyond excited and grateful at the opportunity” to visit Zimbabwe. He wrote, “I’m going on a trip to simply provide any assistance I can through the little entrepreneurial experience I’ve gained over the years about starting a venture, raising capital, building teams, deploying product, and most importantly, the personal steps I’ve taken to pursue my dreams in life and how anyone can and should do this with their lives as well.”
Hassan, 27, is the founder and CEO of Always Prepped, a web-based education data company that allows teachers and administrators to better use data to drive instruction and improve student outcomes. Hassan became an entrepreneur in 2006, when he founded Daylert, an online provider of social calendaring and text messaging services for college students. In 2008, he became the Vice President of Business Development of Intelliworks, which enables tertiary institutions to make purposeful connections with students through its Web-based relationship management services.
Mr. Hassan is a seasoned speaker and has completed speaking tours at major universities, conferences, and entrepreneurship and education events around the world where he has shared his thoughts and experiences on education, technology, entrepreneurship, and leadership development.
In his speech at the two-day “Zimbabwe Going Forward” Conference, Ambassador Wharton said he believed in the power of ICTs to promote economic growth.
“I believe so strongly in the potential of ICTs to offer opportunities and growth and…I remain optimistic about Zimbabwe’s future,” said the U.S. Ambassador who prior to his assignment in Zimbabwe supported the development of one of the first tech hubs in Kenya while serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of African Affairs at the Department of State.
“There are simply too many well-educated, creative, hardworking people in this great country not to be optimistic. In terms of opportunity for Zimbabwe, nothing will unleash this country’s great intellectual capital like ICT. Combined with transparent and consistent policies, there’s no reason Zimbabwe can’t become a world leader in the fastest growing sector of the global economy. The United States supports that.”
According to recent reports on African internet trends from browser service Opera Mini, Zimbabwe is the country with the highest representation of local content domains, with four of its top ten most frequented websites being local. This indicates that the Zimbabwean mobile broadband user is a huge consumer of local content, something which startups should explore as an opportunity.