Simbarashe Mukorera founded a media trading platform for Africa, called Adspaces. The platform provides African brands and agencies with innovative advertising, sponsorship and partnership opportunities.
Adspaces offers a one-stop resource to access customised media solutions and discover new and innovative opportunities. Advertisers can easily search new opportunities by keyword, location or category. Each offer on Adspaces is posted directly by media companies and buyers can contact media vendors directly. Its diverse publishing categories include print, radio, television, websites, email, SMS, billboards, buildings, green bins, vehicles, in-store and many more.
Adspaces’ members include leading brands, local businesses, media companies, agencies, publishers and sports enterprises. Members are able to discover, plan, negotiate and buy advertising space through the platform. Having begun in in Zimbabwe, the company has expanded its reach to South Africa, and is set to branch into the rest of Africa.
Simbarashe began Adspaces when he realised that the advertising industry currently has no ubiquitous and scalable automated solution that integrates the whole ad discovery and campaign launch process. He sought to make advertising space more affordable and accessible to a greater pool of businesses.
Usually the entire process of finding a suitable advertisement for service providers and their respective product offerings, to the creation of an advert and the running of these ad campaigns can take up to several days using conventional methods. Through Simbarashe’s disruptive platform, all of this is compacted into a couple of minutes.
Simbarashe says that after completing his advanced level in 2011 he was very much eager to enter the real word and enrolled for a degree in computer science at the University of Zimbabwe at the age of 18. Two years into his programme, his excitement was dampened by the condition of Zimbabwe’s deteriorating economy amid rising inflation, currency crisis, rampant unemployment and capital flight.
He feared he would become a statistic if he did not step out of his comfort zone and after careful consideration, decided that instead of finishing his university degree to look for a job, he would start his own business.
Despite the lack of support in the form of funding and incentives from government and the private sector for startups, Simbarashe has achieved recognition and commercial success.
In January 2019, Adspaces partnered with the University of Zimbabwe through its privately registered company FASIC Pvt Ltd that supports the industrialisation and modernisation of Zimbabwe through the commercialisation of research and innovation in collaboration with the departments and institutes of the University of Zimbabwe.
The university automatically became an Adspaces client. Adspaces recently launched in South Africa and partnered with a local company called Analytics Advertising, which became its sale agent.
Although Simbarashe is affected by daily challenges such as Zimbabwe’s volatile economy, which he mitigates by frequently checking exchange rates to ensure his platform accurately reflects the correct advertising rates for publishers, he is spurred on by his vision to see the proliferation of the company’s operations across the continent, establishing it as the premium marketplace for advertisers and media in the next five years. He would like to see free trade among SADC countries, which will open up new markets that companies such as Adspaces can tap into.
Simbarashe believes that the future of Africa lies in the hands of the younger generation. In the context of a rapidly changing world and highly dynamic business landscape, there is a need for technologically equipped young people to chip in and drive economic growth in Africa. He says initiatives like TYI 100 play a vital role in building a community of a young tech entrepreneurs and changemakers.