Econet-sponsored Elevate Youth Club was officially launched in Bulawayo at the NUST Delta Lecture Theatre on the 11th of April.

Elevate Youth club is a youth-oriented empowerment programme created and managed by Zimbabwean Youth. The club aims to equip young Zimbabweans to make the most of their potential through personal development which leads to community development. It allows young people between the ages of 16-24 access to job prospects, mentorship opportunities and admission to youth summits. Elevate Youth club members become the first in line for innovative youth products, enriching opportunities, exciting games and competitions.

In his remarks, Econet representative, Jonathan Neshane highlighted that the club is divided into pillars namely Mix n Match, Spin n Shuffle and Rise n Grow. These pillars were divided to accommodate members according to their different talents and passions. According to Mr Neshane,  the club has great interest in technology and applications but also recognises many more talents such as Art, Woodwork, Music and growing fields such as FIFA gaming.

Mr Neshane added that the club benefits its members by exposing them to Econet Platforms and therefore a customer audience of about 4-5 million people. He gave an example of a University of Zimbabwe Medical Student who is very good at Art. The student registered as a member and the trust recognized his amazing work.  They put his story on their platform and since then he has received numerous requests for his Art from people within Zimbabwe and outside the country.

Officiating at the launch, the Vice-Chancellor Prof. Mqhele Dlodlo advised students that Econet is growing in its support of young minds that are bringing about change in Zimbabwe.

“Students should not wait until their final year projects or until graduation to start making a difference. Students should take advantage of the numerous platforms that are given to them to come up with research and create innovations that will make a difference in the community,” said Prof. Dlodlo.  

 Prof. Dlodlo appreciated the event and the fact that it was launched at NUST because it allows him to meet and mingle with students that are excited about their new ideas and ways of looking at life itself.

The Acting Director of the NUST Innovation Hub, Mr. Aleck Ncube, encouraged students to follow up on Intellectual Property, Research and Innovation as enshrined in Industry 5.0 which stresses on innovation that leads to Industrialization. Mr Ncube said students should make the most of this partnership between Econet and NUST and should make use of the Innovation Hub to commercialize their projects.

He added that students should also be aware of the Innovation Hub Policy which concentrates on innovation management and revenue distribution amongst the inventor, the department and the hub.

The Club launch included a competition in which student groups participated to showcase their projects and ideas. The innovations were judged on factors such as pricing, promotion, distribution, branding and profit making. First price was scooped by Bio-plus group which won $RTGS2000, followed by Smart Solar which won $RTGS1000 and third place was taken by ASA students’ resident group which won $RTGS500. Every team member in the groups also received a Kwese Play Decoder.  

Closing the event, Deputy Registrar (Academic) Emmanuel Phiri appreciated the works of Econet founder, Strive Masiyiwa, who continues to be hands on in empowering the youth of Zimbabwe. This is done through various programs such as scholarships, internet units and so much more. He thanked the students who worked with Director of Residences Campus Life and Catering, Peter Zwide Khumalo to organize the successful event.

 A large number of students who attended the event managed to register as Elevate Club members. Students who did not attend but wish to be part of Elevate were advised to visit the club website and follow the registration process.

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