Innovative NUST students represent Zimbabwe at global stage

INNOVATIVE National University of Science and Technology (NUST) students represented the country at global universities’ competitions after they designed a platform to assist vendors and farmers to sell their products during Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

After shrugging off competition from local universities, the NUST team booked a place at the Enactus World Cup competitions hosted by Netherlands.

But due to Covid-19, the competition, which started on the 8th of September and ended on the 11th of September, was held virtually.

Enactus is a club for university students who are making an impact in communities through implementing bold projects of social innovation and scalable solutions.

Hence the steps by NUST Enactus Club to address some of the emerging challenges that were brought by Covid-19.

In their innovation, the students would connect platforms such as WhatsApp to enable farmers to directly deliver their produce to vendors who were locked at home.

NUST Director of Communication and Marketing, Mr Thabani Mpofu said NUST Enactus Club competed at the global stage against universities from 36 countries.

“The 24-member NUST Enactus team made up of students from various faculties was inspired by the impact of Covid-19 on vegetable market vendors, who used to operate in city centres across the country but were displaced as local authorities moved in to decongest the urban centres. The team used WhatsApp and SMS messages to create innovative online platforms for vendors to market and sell their products while operating from home during the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions,” said Mr Mpofu.

He said the NUST team was among nine African teams that reached the group stage of the competition.

“The NUST team did, however, not managed to make it past the group stages at this international event, after they lost to Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and China’s Southwest Minu University, but a job well done for being national ambassadors, our next generation of entrepreneurial leaders and social innovators,” he said.

“The Enactus network has 72 000 entrepreneurial students across 1 730 campuses in 36 countries, who are positively impacting the lives of over 1,3 million people each year.”

NUST Enactus Club secretary general Ms Uralite Nare, said they wanted vendors to continue trading even when councils had closed their usual markets considering that a lot of people survived through vending.

“As NUST Enactus, we came along with our project VendorsHub that creates opportunities for vendors to be able to continue trading as they have been affected by the Covid-19-induced city councils’ decision to decentralise the operations of vendors by moving them out of the city centres where vendors could easily access both their suppliers and customers,” she said. — Chronicle.

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