Projects in Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe
Chinhoyi University of Technology
Bed & Breakfast
Chinhoyi University of Technology
Stichting Stadsgarage started a partnership with the Chinhoyi University of Technology (CUT) in the autumn of 2019. This collaboration was created to jointly set up an incubator for the students of this university. This university is - as the name implies - located in the provincial town of Chinhoyi, about 100 kilometers northwest of the Zimbabwean capital Harare. Baud Schoenmaeckers, one of the founders of Stichting Stadsgarage, traveled to Chinhoyi several times to work out the project with the CUT Vice-Dean of Wildlife conservation Victor Muposhi.
The incubator program is designed to address two issues that play a role locally. Firstly, it is to combat the high rate of youth unemployment, which in Zimbabwe is as high as 90%. By stimulating entrepreneurship, employment will be fostered through labor demand. And by setting up of enterprises, people are less dependent on the market of jobs - where there aren't! In this way, the parties involved see opportunities to reduce unemployment at a local level.
Secondly, the other issue is the importance of conservation of biodiversity, the ecosystem services and the role of (natural) pollinators like bees. Natural pollination plays a vital role in global agriculture, as much as USD 235 to 577 billion is involved in this business worldwide. Without this agricultural 'application', many daily foods disappear. As a result, apples and melons, for example, are no longer available in most supermarkets.
So, setting up an incubator can have a huge impact. The CUT wished to make it specific; focus on the whole value chain of biodiversity and honey. Which is really challenging because it is not just plain and simple. Where in this chain can someone start a business? With this theme, setting up an incubator with a program to incubate start-ups and people that just have ideas, is an unprecedented challenge. And most interesting: both issues are covered in one project. The Rotterdam University of Applied Science (Hogeschool Rotterdam) is involved in this project. What started with just some talks, ended up in a huge IBaC program with university students from New York, São Paulo, Valencia. And Chinhoyi and Rotterdam. The students do the research, about financial needs and possibilities, feasibility, operational issues and unconventional insights that contribute to the progress of the incubator project.
a B&B that brings Chinhoyi further
One of the other activities is situated in a former English country house at Baobab Avenue in Chinhoyi. This mansion has been purchased to start a bed and breakfast. That has been given the name Zebras Dazzle. Major renovations are required to make the mansion suitable for visitors. These activities got off to a smooth start, but were somewhat delayed due to Covid-19. The inside of the house has been adapted, five rooms are almost ready, as well as the gazebo (garden restaurant). At this moment, investments are still needed to make the manager's house, the seven sleeping cabins and the swimming pool...
Zebras Dazzle meets a great local need, because there are hardly any catering establishments in and around Chinhoyi. The city is county capital, hosting the biggest court in the region and is located on the A1, the highway between South Africa and Zambia. A stop along this highway thus offers travelers the opportunity to rest and recreate. This bed & breakfast also makes it possible to receive national and international guests in the city, who contribute to the development of Chinhoyi and the county. Zebras Dazzle offers employment to 35 people, excluding suppliers and individual hired workers. The B&B will set up a social program with and for the inhabitants (like a leftover restaurant, a Food Truck, stage for local musicians and other artists). And a cooperation will be started with Chinhoyi University in being the best (and only) place for students in hospitality to do their intern. The host is the Dutch Assia Hiemstra, who is also keeping a daily close watch on the construction activities.