• Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Old Mutual, US Embassy upskill local start-ups

ByEconomic Times

Nov 30, 2022

By Staff Writer

Old Mutual Zimbabwe’s corporate incubator and accelerator in Harare, Eight2Five Innovation Hub has collaborated with the US Embassy to bring an American venture capital expert, Dawn Batts, to upskill local entrepreneurs and start-ups on investor relations.

Venture capital is a form of private equity and a type of financing that investors provide to start-up companies and small businesses that are believed to have long-term growth potential.

“We have set aside December 1 for a session open to all the emerging entrepreneurs working at the hub who are keen to learn more about working with Investors,” Lillian Mbayiwa, head of group marketing, public affairs and sustainability at Old Mutual Zimbabwe said in a statement.

“US expert Dr. Batts will host a session open to all the emerging entrepreneurs to help them unlock funding and pitch ideas to potential funders.”

Batts will share insights and her main talking points will be on how to approach investors, how to make a small business attractive to investors, best practices for engaging and following up, how to pitch to various types of investors, and what is more attractive business elements to investors are.

“The vision of the Eight2Five hub is to partner with entrepreneurs to achieve a shared vision of solving real-world and business problems. Providing an enabling environment for innovation and entrepreneurship is at the heart of the Hub,” She said.


With the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) fast operationalizing, local businesses and start-ups are looking for fresh lines of credit to exploit business opportunities on the continental trading bloc.

This comes as Zimbabwe’s high-risk profile, combined with a debt overhang and high inflation, has limited both domestic and foreign lending to the private sector.

Dawn Batts has over two decades of experience, analyzing business opportunities, developing and implementing strategic plans, and managing their subsequent operations and compliance processes. Her diverse professional experiences and research have led to her solutions-based approach to addressing the myriad of factors causing the economic disparity between women and men.

As the Director of Growth Capital for Tech Town – Detroit’s entrepreneurial hub – Batts secures and aligns resources that help Detroit-based entrepreneurs achieve the vision and goals of their businesses.

She also manages the Catalyst Angel Program which trains, mentors, and engages emerging underrepresented angel investors in the Great Lakes Region. She extends her work as co-founder of Commune Angels, a diverse community of investors who seed scalable consumer, enterprise, and life science companies that transform lives.

Batts has served on a variety of local and national non-profit boards. She was recently appointed to the Michigan Early-Stage Venture Investment Corporation Board of Directors. Dawn has a B.A. in Accounting from Michigan State University, an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Wayne State University.

At Old Mutual Zimbabwe, entrepreneurship is an important core pillar of the responsible business strategy. The commitment to supporting small businesses so that they realize their aspiration is being driven by creating initiatives and opportunities for entrepreneurs. Recently the Eight2Five Innovation Hub hosted the first Amazon Web Service onboarding session which was aimed at empowering entrepreneurs to have a global technological competitive advantage – HARARE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *