I was recently accepted into the Muzinda Hub Digital Skills Training course and last week I attended the mandatory two day entrepreneurship training. It was a fun and enlightening experience and I learnt way more than I thought could be taught in two days.
A brief background: Muzinda Hub is an initiative by Econet to train a 1000 (in separate smaller batches) strong digital army which will then be let loose on our fledgling tech ecosystem. These 1000, me included, will both create and take the tech jobs we have here and also anywhere else in the world.
The program involves a two day entrepreneurship course taught by Ubuntu Equity founder Tendai Mashingaidze, followed by a three month period where students pursue a track on the educational platform Treehouse capped by a project and then you’re done.
On Treehouse you get to choose a track. I chose Python, which is why you see some badges on my site (sidebar or bottom of page on Opera Mini).
The entrepreneurship course taught by Tendai was really fun and educational. The guy is a genius, nothing less. In two days he managed to teach the basics of business, from how to come up with a feasible idea, how to write a business plan, how to raise funds, how to negotiate with funders and how to market a product and how to take care of finances. He fused his lectures with real life anecdotes and practical examples that led many of us to some cool aha moments- genuine epiphanies. I actually realised why one of my startup ideas never took off. The guy is good, and if you decide to apply for the course, just being in his class is reason enough.
I am now doing the Python track on Treehouse and I’m enjoying it. I like coding and I have been doing it on and off for about two years now but I think this will be the time I really put my coding skills to test. As to why I chose Python instead of, say, Front End Web Design or WordPress, Ruby or Android App development I think it’s because Python fits in nicely with my other goals in Engineering and robotics and it’s also one of Google’s official languages so there’s always that.
I will be done around October but I’ll be giving regular updates of the experience and my thoughts of it here.
I really think this is a great initiative from Econet which can genuinely transform the local tech scene unlike the Hackathons and Startup challenges which have been going on for some time. I think they are great ideas but they are out of sync with the reality on the ground, which is that there is not enough knowledge out there. Code challenges and startup contests work best where people already have the tech skills required. This is where I think Hypercube and the other guys got it wrong.
Education and skills first .1. Competitions and companies later.
By the way one of the ideas- though suggested in jest- was that maybe someone in the class would redesign those dreadful government websites. I think that’ll be a great start.
Perhaps we are now seeing the true birth of a Zimbabwean tech culture.
By education I do not mean formal education. I mean education in the broader sense of having knowledge, information and skills.