By Paul Ndiho
From an idea to a buzzword, the co-working movement is spreading rapidly worldwide. In the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, Impact Hub is changing the way young people are working and developing new businesses.
Tadzoka Pswarayi, is an entrepreneur and a co-founder of Impact Hub Zimbabwe. A co-working space in the heart of Harare where she strives to cultivate an eco-system that supports budding entrepreneurs as they launch small businesses.
“Our mandate is to inspire, connect and enable change makers in Zimbabwe and across the world for positive social impact. We’re based in over a hundred cities across the world, and basically, we house change makers and help them in their quest to make a world a better place.”
At Impact Hub, new businesses are being spurred with secure funding while developing lifelong friendships. Pswarayi says her vision is to support Zimbabwean entrepreneurs by helping them launch and grow their business.
“What got me started is a passion for change, a passion for people, and seeing that our local ecosystems need inspiring spaces where people who think big can get together and make things happen.”
More importantly, she says it also helps her to inspire young women to become involved the tech space.
“We have initiatives that seek to empower women with digital skills. One of them is E-skills for girls. Where we’re teaching girls how to code, how to use technology for the betterment of their lives. We also have a project called Code is female again where we’re teaching girls how to code. We work closely with Facebook developer circles so that we can leverage the tools and developers that exist within our system.
Several young change markers are benefiting from Impact Hub. For example, Namatai Kwekweza, uses the space to connect with other young people to address Zimbabwe’s economic challenges. Her start-up focuses on developing peer-to-peer interactions.
“We develop leaders across the board. We have economic leaders, business leaders, political leaders and what we do is that we aim to create an interactive program where the politicians interact with the entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs interact with the techies so that share Ideas, exchange ideas because we believe that this where ideas are.”
Entrepreneur Tapiwa Mupakati, a software test analyst with crystal quality assurance, is also taking advantage of the co-working space.
“We do testing for web applications, mobile apps, we do what we call functional testing to make sure that every function of software performs as expected.”
Simba Kanyimo runs Tariro Trust a non-profit charitable organization out of the Impact Hub facility in Harare. His mission is to support young girls.
“We assist young girls in the high-density suburbs of Harare so that they can be able to go to school Through payment of their school fees, school supplies, like uniforms, and stationery as well as life skills training.”
What started over ten years ago, as a gathering place for impact trailblazers in London, has grown to a community of thousands of professionals making an impact in towns and cities all around the world. And for Impact Hub Harare, they are seizing the moment.