It is my honour and pleasure to update you on the progress FundoLinker has registered so far especially in the year of 2018.
FundoLinker completed its protracted foundation phase on the 31st of April 2018 having started on the 6th of January 2016, the day FundoLinker was born. The focus of the Foundation Phase, also known as FundoLinker 1.0, was on taking the FundoLinker platform to multitudes of people and a handful of organizations from our respective communities while gradually establishing solid relationships with key partners such as the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, incubation hubs and media houses. The outcome of FundoLinker 1.0 included a well validated idea and hypothesis, fruitful media coverage and 600,000 registered users.
The foundation phase was succeeded by the organization phase, popularly known as FundoLinker 2.0, a fairly short phase which was primarily aimed at conducting FundoLinker brand awareness at various organizations such as universities, colleges and companies. FundoLinker took the FundoLinker platform to a number of reputable organizations that included Dairibord, Cresta Hotels, University of Zimbabwe, Econet, Old Mutual, Steward Bank, Telone, Netone, Delta and Africa University while intensifying its engagement with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.
We got shrewd advices and feedback from Mrs Tracey Mutaviri (Dairiboard Marketing Director), Mrs Chipo Mtasa (Telone Managing Director) , Mrs Pamela Chinhoyi (Cresta Hotels Human Resources Manager), Mr Marshall Pemhiwa (Delta Human Resources Director) and Dr Gilford Tapera Hapanyengwi (University of Zimbabwe, Computer Centre Director) among others. FundoLinker earned priceless appreciation and support from the Office of the President and Cabinet who advised us to officially write a letter to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education requesting for permission to bring their primary and secondary schools to the FundoLinker platform. The Ministry of ICT and Courier Services showed their immense support to FundoLinker and encouraged us to continue solidifying our relationship with the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education.
On the 29th of August 2018 FundoLinker submitted its Memorandum of Understanding(MOU) to the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education as per Ministry's request in their letter to FundoLinker dated 10 August 2018. While there is no response yet from the Ministry about our MOU and subsequent steps despite two follow-ups, we believe the MOU is still under scrutiny at the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. We also took the FundoLinker platform to the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education and we have since submitted our Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to them for review.
In October 2018, FundoLinker was invited by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, Innovation Africa and African Brains to participate as their partner at the Innovation Africa 28-30 November 2018 summit held under the official patronage of the Government of Zimbabwe led by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education. As a self-funded startup which was at the pre-revenue stage awaiting a permission letter from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, FundoLinker failed to pay African Brains the required USD6,950 or $22,240 (Bond/RTGS) to participate at this summit as a silver partner. It is worth noting that FundoLinker looked for financial support from various Government departments, banks and POTRAZ who all could not help FundoLinker citing either budgetary constraints or short notice period. Although we did not physically participate at the summit we improvised and did a virtual or digital participation for this summit which ultimately yielded dividends for FundoLinker in multiple ways.
For instance just after this summit, University of Cambridge Judge Business School, through MBA impact investing MIINT competition, was keen to help the much-promising FundoLinker get the much-needed seed funding and expose us to global partners. However, due to the strict timing of MIINT, Cambridge could not take FundoLinker further as they were afraid that the much-needed permission letter from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education was not going to be issued as early as they were expecting.
So what's next for FundoLinker? We are now preparing for the Student Phase or FundoLinker 3.0, a phase that is intended at supporting the first batch of students from our communities with career guidance, financial help, information and jobs thanks to the huge support-oriented community we have organically built. We are likely to partner with Steward Bank particularly for our crowd scholarships since Steward Bank has shown tremendous interest in FundoLinker and the FundoLinker platform thanks to their innovative CEO, Dr Lance Mambondiani. The success of our student phase is premised on the issuance of the much-awaited permission letter by the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education since we are targeting marginalized and group B primary and secondary schools for this phase.
Thank you very much for supporting FundoLinker and the FundoLinker community.
Charles Chigoriwa is the co-founder, CEO and head of Community of FundoLinker. FundoLinker is a student support platform through which primary and secondary schools, companies, industry veterans, crowd donors, universities and colleges are able to work together in order to provide career guidance, financial help, information, apprenticeships, industrial attachment and graduate trainee jobs to students.
Growing up an orphan, Charles Chigoriwa got help and support from compassionate individuals and various organizations that included Roman Catholic, Star Africa Corporation (formally Zimbabwe Sugar Refinery), OK Zimbabwe, Interfresh Limited and the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education to complete his education. He graduated at the University of Zimbabwe with a degree in Business Studies and Computer Science. Charles attended his primary and secondary education at Makaha Primary School (Mudzi), Makosa Primary School(Mutoko), Makosa Secondary School (Mutoko), Mhari Secondary School (Sadza, Chikomba) and Harare High School(Harare).
Charles, a successful software engineer, worked for/with organizations such as Afrosoft Holdings, Econet, Transaction Payment Solutions, Steward Bank, Ministry of Health and Child Care, Zimnat, Transunion, StarAfrica Corporation, Africom, RubieM Technologies, HITRAC and Malawi Telecommunications before founding FundoLinker.