Collaboration key in start-up success: Notes from Techfest

“There is always a new way of doing old things differently”

By Sineke Sibanda

No man is an island and especially in developing countries where most economies are trading adversely on the negative. To that effect, it is only collaboration that can salvage our development plight.

I attended a festival that runs annually under the banner of Techfest held at the Bulawayo Rainbow in about two weeks ago and was happy to sit and listen to one of the panel discussions that was premised on issues to do with startup success.


One of the panelists, Velile Dube, touched on the fact that the future of the world is dependent on the ability of young people to modify the old systems currently working now with new innovative ones that can ease the plight we currently are in. He was basically arguing that the world needs a progressive gradual transformation and not a complete radical evolution. African markets are often hesitant to accept change at the first instance but gradually adapt to systems and hence collaboration offers this platform.

I will leave you three key benefits of collaboration I took away from the festival.

  1. Improves efficiency.

Small-Business-EfficiencyWith every collaboration, there is an impact that happens. Your startup or innovation should be able to change or improve the efficiency of the systems currently in place. If your innovation does not do this, it may mean that it is not worth having or investing in. Mind you, when you identify a company you want to collaborate with, you should know the systems they use, the faults they encounter and address how your innovation can actually bring value to their organisation. All these big companies already in the market are looking for is value addition, if they see value in your product, they will bring you on board. I know you might be thinking about what if they steal my idea and chuck me out, lol. True it may happen, read more here about protecting your intellectual property.

2. Gives you a place to try your idea

Believe it or not, we can never really know if our idea works until we put it to test. Collaborations help us to measure and evaluate this aspect. When you find a partner willing to risk their business by fusing in your idea, be sure it’s the best you put to it. Honestly, there is no room to chance. What if your innovation blows up their data recovery servers or compromise their clients’ accounts. These are detrimental to the business and that is why you have to know your product so well such that you are sure it’s the best and safest to try. It is only when you have such confidence that you will be able to win your partners’ hearts to want to try working with you.

3. It helps you to grow.

business_growth.jpgWhat is life, if it is not measured by our ability to exhibit growth? I honestly enjoy it when I see myself do something better than the last time I tried it. It shows I’m growing and to be quite frank, there is always room for you to grow. When big companies support start-ups they both make more money. We spoke of efficiency earlier on, efficiency should bring in more reliability and that should give you more clients, which translate to more money. So sometimes instead of trying it out on your own and endeavouring to create competition, why not tap into already functioning systems and use their infrastructure by adding value to what they already have.


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