By Tapiwa Marume
The National Company of the Year (COY) competition organized by Junior Achievement Zimbabwe (JAZ) was held on the 22nd of September at the Prince Edward School in Harare. A total of 15 schools from Harare, Midlands, Mutare and Bulawayo converged to fight for the coveted first prize and a chance to represent Zimbabwe at the Junior Achievement Africa Regional COY competitions in South Africa in December. Mzilikazi High, Maranatha Adventist, Nyanyadzi, St Faith’s and Marist Nyanga were among the schools that participated.
Each team was given 5 minutes on stage to give a brief company profile before a select panel of adjudicators. The profile introduced the company’s activities, products/services, mission, objectives and financial statements. Following every presentation were questions seeking clarity or comments by the three adjudicators.
The companies also had booths set up where they exhibited their products and services. A wide range of eyebrow raising products and services were displayed such as a battery powered iron, a portable multi-purpose fan that can act as a charger, a study kit with a unique browser, mosquito repellent candles made from bees wax, body spray, a biltong dryer among many others. Most of the products were made from biodegradable, environmentally friendly recycled waste materials.
Phil Mlambo the Executive Director of JAZ pointed out that innovation was an important aspect to product design and it is one area the judges considered. He further said it was important to have a product that would sell and generate profits, he said:
“It would be pointless to have an innovative product that will not sell and attract business.”
Other areas that had special attention were team work and the sustainability of the business venture.
After thorough deliberations Regina Mundi High emerged the winner of the 2017 COY competition. The winning company TNL makes stationery holders, flower vases, and pencil cases from recycled waste materials. Second place went to ZRP High, Third place went to Innotech from Shungu High which makes multi-purpose mates and battery powered irons. Students and teachers from the schools could not hide their joy as went to collect their prize amidst shouts and cheering from the audience.
Regina Mundi will represent Zimbabwe at the Junior Achievement Africa Regional Finals in South Africa in December where they will join schools from 13 other African countries that implement the Junior Achievement COY concept.
The Best Marketing Manager Award was scooped by Northlea High, Best Human Resources award Manager went to Mzilikazi High, Best Finance Manager award was taken by St Dominics, Best Production Manager award was won by Mufakose 2 High and Best CEO award went to St Faith’s.
Last year Zimbabwe had the privilege of successfully hosting the Regional COY Competition which saw a number of African countries sending teams. Phil said that high powered dignitaries such as the president and CEO of Junior Achievers Worldwide, Junior Achievement Africa (JAA) CEO, JAZ CEO and JA Board Chairperson Person Jeane Chawapiwa were going to attend the Regional COY Competition.
The JAZ company program helps students in lower six to start their own businesses from concept, business plan, financing, operation and growth. The companies are supposed to run for at least 2 terms for them to qualify for the COY Competition. The company is steered by a leadership with various responsibilities including the CEO, Finance Manager, Marketing Manager, Production Manager and the Human resources Manager.
Junior achievement Zimbabwe is a registered non-profit making organization and a member of Junior Achievement Worldwide. It aims to empower young people in areas such as entrepreneurship, financial literacy, work readiness and seeking for opportunities. This year’s competition was sponsored by MBCA Bank Limited and PE which availed a venue. For more information please visit: www.jazimbabwe.org.zw