Practical Ways For Startup Funding In Zimbabwe

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In the startups culture, startup funding is one of the most topical issues. It is actually the second biggest problem area that leads to the high failure rate amongst startups. It can start off from the very onset by an entrepreneur failing to raise enough capital. It can also present itself later by them failing to raise additional funding needed, given the respective circumstances. It is apparent Zimbabwe is not your typical operating environment. Some of what is main stream in other countries is not so here. That is why it is vital that we have a discussion on exploring ways that can work in Zimbabwe in as far as raising startup capital is concerned.

Bootstrapping

This simply entails you using your own money to finance your startup. Now, do not be quick to dismiss this by saying you cannot afford that. You have to think creatively here because the possible strategies are plenty. Picture this scenario: let us suppose you dedicate 12 months to putting together capital needed to setup your startup. That would mean you will explore ways to generate income e.g. through getting a job, freelancing, buying and selling, amongst many others. Ultimately you will have to be patient and disciplined but it is doable. An immigrant multimillionaire fashion entrepreneur in the US that I know of started their startup this way. Over a span of almost 2 years, they juggled several jobs and put aside over US$10000. You can do the same!

Friends, Family And Relatives

Chances are you have a social circle, we all do. By careful assessment you will realize that there are some individuals in that circle that you can approach. You can end up getting a loan or even a gift, it all depends. There are many entrepreneurs out there who got their startup funding from either or more of these 3 clusters. Keen discretion should be exercised though to ensure you do not end up at loggerheads with your loved ones. Where possible, the tenets of having written and signed agreements might still apply. If you feel things might go out of hand later on then I would advise you not to pursue this method at all.

Personal Assets

This one is mostly overlooked but can be the answer to your startup funding woes. If you take stock of the stuff you own you might notice that you have some valuables that you rarely use. You can put them up for sale and end up raising significant amounts of money. Yard sales are not that common in Zimbabwe but that more or less what I am referring to. It can even be clothes, if you have plenty of pre-loved ones that you no longer use. Pre-loved bale items sell big time in Zimbabwe so you can leverage on that trend. It could even be selling your car if you have one. Seriously consider this avenue; most people do not realize the hidden funds they actually have.

Competitions

Be always on the lookout for competitions with monetary prizes. Some competitions are even solely designed to target aspiring entrepreneurs. Some of them can even entail calls for proposals where winners get to win prizes in the form of startup capital and or mentorship. There are numerous examples of local young Zimbabweans who got to win such opportunities. Most of you spend time on social media doing petty stuff; why not use that time to look around for such opportunities. They are always there and some initiatives are even annual.

Crowdfunding

We can talk about crowdfunding in many forms here so I will highlight just a few. First off, you can go to popular crowdfunding platforms to try and raise startup capital. It is somewhat a long shot but there are startups that actually took off from crowdfunding on platforms such as GoFundMe, Kickstarter, and the like. The second approach is to pool resources together in a crowdfunding effort to raise startup capital. Let me cite a common example I came up with that I usually use to enunciate this. Fully setting up a greenhouse and financing a full season of say, tomatoes requires roughly US$4000. If 6 individuals come together and commit to each raise US$150 per month for 6 months they will end up with US$5400. That will be more than enough to start a greenhouse farming startup. So pooling resources together can be the answer – at times riding solo will not cut it.

Pre-Orders

This will not apply to everyone but for some it might work. If you are working on putting together a startup that packages and sells a service or some goods then you can use this. In fact, even established companies use this to raise additional capital to bankroll their production needs. Essentially what this means is that customers get to pay part of the full price and finish off the balance once they get the product. The part payments can then be used to bankroll the actual production of the product. This can work but you must be absolutely sure you will deliver as promised lest you get lawsuits coming your way. With this method you can start with nothing and let customers pay for production of what they need without them even realizing it.

Obviously there is the option of taking loans from banks or financial institutions – I am not a huge proponent of that, especially in Zimbabwe. After all, chances are that you might not qualify for such loans due to things like collateral. All the same, you can consider that avenue if you come across some legitimate, no interest, or low interest loans. So there you have it, some practical ways you can use for startup funding in Zimbabwe. If you intently consider all these ways, I am confident you will settle for one or more that will bring out some tangible results. Never ever make startup funding the excuse for not putting together your startup.

by Clive Masarakufa.

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