On the 16th of May 2014 UNDP in collaboration with HIT convened a Tech-for development day at Arundel office park. The purpose of this gallery was to show case prototypes of outstanding HIT students projects. Feedback from the tech for development gallery was extremely positive and those who attended were impressed by the level of innovation, energy and zeal the youth displayed. There was need to raise their innovation further by coming up with a support framework for their projects. The Hit-Sandown-UNDP Business Incubation Pilot program was conceptualized.
HIT-Sandown-UNDP Business Incubation Pilot Programme
Following on the Tech-For-Development Gallery, HIT signed a memorandum of understanding with Sandown and UNDP to pilot a business incubation project at HIT premises. Ten ICT projects were incubated as part of the pilot phase. The business incubation pilot sought to impart skills and competences to HIT graduates so that they became technopreneurs. HIT provided the premises, business plan writing, technical backstopping, skills and academic rigour while Sandown provided mentoring and couching, business plan refinement and investor readiness. UNDP provided seed funding for the pilot, coordination and advocacy for the project. The project ran for three months from November 2014 to February 2015. Following the successful conclusion of the HIT-Sandown-UNDP incubation project, nine software copyrights have been registered with the registrar of patents.
HIT -Sandown-UNDP Trial Run
The HIT-Sandown-UNDP incubation project moved to trial run stage. Trial runs involve installing prototypes in the target market -at companies that require the services, monitoring and evaluating performance in terms of the effectiveness and efficiency of the systems. Currently, the various projects are in different phases of piloting.
Technical Review of Projects - Microsoft Africa
Microsoft Africa was roped in by the partners to have a second look at the prototypes in order to assess their technical commercial viability. The review indicated the activities to be undertaken for successful commercialization. The activities involved re-design where necessary to meet international standards, re-development to international standards and local piloting. In addition, the company provided insights into investor expectations in terms of functionality, value of the projects and timing of version releases.
HIT-ZFU-UNDP Young Farmers Innovation Lab
On the 8th of July 2015, HIT-ZFU-UNDP Young Farmers Innovation Lab was launched at HIT. The project focuses on the development of mobile applications that are designed to help mitigate /reduce challenges being faced by young farmers in Zimbabwe in their daily farming activities. Ten third year students from HIT were provided with internship opportunities through the initiative. They we attached to young farmers in Chimanimani, Goromonzi, Honde Valley, Murehwa and Harare to design solutions to problems faced by young farmers. UNDP provided seed funding to this project.
UNDP-OXFAM-UZ-HIT Climate Change Adaptation Project
The project was officially launched in July 2015 and began with an induction training for the participating students from both the UZ and HIT. Through student innovation projects, the project sought to provide solutions to challenges faced by farmers arising from climate changes. The participants were to work in three selected districts of Chiredzi, Buhera and Chimanimani. They were to work in partnership with Agritex, Meteorological Department and OXFAM in the respective districts.
HIT-UNDP Innovation and Design Thinking Lab (IDTL)
The HIT-UNDP Innovation and Design Thinking Lab (IDTL) project seeks to help individuals and learning institutions and companies in SADC solve critical challenges through human centred, design driven approaches. It offers a new approach to innovation, using design the thinking methodology. The IDTL seeks to address the issue of youth unemployment, climate change through imparting life-changing skills. It also seeks to address the issues of development challenges that these countries face. Through innovation, the IDTL will help to provide solutions to community challenges.