Orange Social Venture Prize 2023 (OSVP)

THEME: Fostering Innovation for Sustainable Development and Gender Equality



The Orange Social Venture Prize Sierra Leone (OSVP) 2023, an annual flagship event of the Orange Telecommunication Company,  took place on August 4, 2023, at Limkokwing University, Hill Station. This event marked the 5th edition of OSVP in Sierra Leone and the 13th edition of Orange Middle East Africa. OSVP Sierra Leone is part of Orange’s innovation strategy and its corporate social responsibility policy, organised in partnership with Innovation SL through the Freetown Pitch Night. The Orange Social Venture Prize in Africa and the Middle East aims to promote Social Innovation for development by gratifying the best technological projects with a positive impact in Africa and the Middle East. Open to businesses under three years old, the competition focused on technological solutions in fields like healthcare, education, agriculture, mobile payments, and sustainable development. Women’s empowerment and gender equality were key themes. Dignitaries including the Minister of Technical and Higher Education, highlighted the transformative potential of technology in societal advancement. Innovation SL’s C.E.O., Mr. Francis Stevens George effectively highlighted the OSVP’s journey of growth, its role in fostering innovation, and its catalytic effect on business expansion. Orange Sierra Leone’s CEO reinforced the corporation’s commitment to nurturing young entrepreneurs, exemplified through initiatives such as the Orange Digital Centers and the Women Centre.



The event commenced with individual prayers, respecting the diverse audience’s backgrounds. With a sense of anticipation and excitement, the hosts Mr Alimamy, graciously welcomed an esteemed lineup of attendees to the event. Among the honoured guests were the Ministers, Deputy Ministers, who represented the government’s engagement, and the European Union Ambassador to Sierra Leone, symbolising international collaboration. Notably, recognition was extended to the dedicated partners, particularly Innovation SL, who played a pivotal role in making the event a reality. The gathering also included the esteemed panel of judges, the innovative pitchers showcasing their groundbreaking ideas, the Orange Director, and members of the Orange mobile company staff.

Setting the stage for a dynamic competition, the hosts announced the much-anticipated prizes for the winners. Emphasising the event’s commitment to acknowledging and encouraging excellence, it was revealed that this year’s Orange Social Venture Prize national competition winner for the Grand Prize would be honoured with a substantial NLe 100,000 award. Reflecting the event’s dedication to fostering gender equality and empowering women, the announcement continued with the declaration that the women’s category (Tech Queen) winner would proudly receive a noteworthy NLe 50,000 prize. This announcement not only heightened the stakes but also underscored the event’s broader mission of recognizing and celebrating innovation, entrepreneurship, and inclusivity.


Mr Kamal Omar Sheriff Abass, the Head of Public Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility, inaugurated the event. In his address, he welcomed dignitaries and the audience, emphasising Orange’s commitment to technology-driven projects, startups, and gender equality. He highlighted Orange’s role as a platform for Sierra Leonean startups and its dedication to empowering young female entrepreneurs. The address concluded with a glimpse of previous OSVP winners through a testimonial clip, inspiring the audience with the event’s impact on innovation and entrepreneurship. Mr Abass’ speech set the stage for an event focused on innovation, inclusivity, and the transformative power of technology.


Mr Francis Stevens-George, CEO/MD of Innovation SL, provided a comprehensive overview of the Orange Social Venture Prize (OSVP) journey. He highlighted how OSVP, which began as a startup venture in 2018, has grown exponentially and found a firm footing in the product market. As the reigning champion, he emphasised the firsthand understanding of the exhilaration that comes with victory. Mr Stevens-George proudly announced Sierra Leone’s remarkable achievement in 2022, securing the esteemed entrepreneur prize and gaining global recognition. He advocated for a shift in focus from monetary rewards to the broader perspective of nurturing business growth. This pivot has led Orange Telecommunications Company to take on the role of vigilant observers, actively monitoring and supporting the progress of winners. Expressing deep gratitude, Mr Stevens-George commended the relentless efforts of the entire Innovation team, with special recognition for Madam Hassanatu Jalloh. Her unwavering dedication in preparing pitchers, even working through the entirety of a week including Saturday, was noted. The CEO/MD also acknowledged Innovation SL’s pivotal role in cultivating a fertile ground for startups and novel projects to flourish. With optimism resonating, the MD voiced his conviction that Sierra Leone is poised for another triumphant victory, echoing his anticipation of claiming the grand prize once again. His words encapsulated not only the growth of OSVP but also the spirit of innovation, dedication, and the promising future that lies ahead for entrepreneurs in Sierra Leone.


Sekou Amadou Bah, CEO of Orange Sierra Leone, highlighted Orange’s instrumental role in fostering young entrepreneurs across Africa, with a distinct focus on Sierra Leone. The company’s commitment aimed at establishing a robust platform for emerging businesses, offering crucial elements such as funding and mentorship. A pivotal milestone was reached in February 2019 with the inauguration of the Orange Digital Centre in Sierra Leone, reflecting their dedication to democratizing digital access. Notably, this centre provided young women with the invaluable opportunity to access education and resources in the digital realm. Over the span of a year, an impressive 1600 individuals were trained, and it was revealed that more than half of them were women. Even more remarkable, 58% of these trained individuals successfully secured employment. Orange’s unwavering support for women’s empowerment was further manifested in the creation of the Women’s Centre in partnership with Nicom in 2021. This initiative aimed at empowering women with fundamental skills in commerce, digital technology, and financial management. Mr. Bah proudly noted that over 126 women have already graduated from this program. Mr. Bah also celebrated the accomplishments of previous years, highlighting the triumph of Osman as the 2022 national contest winner out of 17 countries. Additionally, Joseph Koroma’s groundbreaking achievement as the OSVP international grand prize winner for Sierra Leone underscored the nation’s potential on a global stage. Reaffirming their commitment, Mr. Bah reiterated Orange’s pledge to provide young individuals with ample opportunities to embrace the digital landscape. This stance encapsulates their dedication to nurturing innovation, entrepreneurship, and technological literacy among the youth, ultimately driving progress and transformation

Dr. Haja Ramatulai Wurry, the Minister of Technical and Higher Institutions, provided a comprehensive perspective on the Orange Social Venture Prize (OSVP) initiative. She highlighted its purpose to recognize and reward technological projects creating positive impacts in education, health, agriculture, e-commerce, and inclusively for individuals with disabilities, aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Dr. Wurry emphasised the potential of e-learning to empower learners of all ages and the transformative role of technology in healthcare, agriculture, and entrepreneurship. She stressed the empowerment of women as a common thread across various developmental pillars, framing OSVP as a catalyst for gender equality and broader societal progress.


After Dr. Haja Ramatulai Wurie’s statement, the pitch session commenced immediately, with participants reminded of the pitch rules: each pitcher had five minutes to present their innovative project, followed by a two-minute window for addressing potential questions or contributions from the judges. The pitch session featured a diverse group of 8 entrepreneurs, each showcasing their innovative projects. Among them, the top 5 grand finalists of OSVP 2023 were contending for a significant prize of NLE 100,000, while the top 3 tech queen finalists were competing for a substantial sum of NLE 50,000.

The top 5 grand finalists presented their visionary ideas. Sia Chakanda pitched the KeneCare Virtual Hospital concept, Isha Abdulai introduced Crescent Salone, Andrew Dosumu showcased the innovative liquid air box, Mariama Mbayoh shared the Kam Rent Ya initiative, and James Samba unveiled the Electric Quadricycle proposal.

In the tech queen category, the top 3 finalists presented their groundbreaking ideas. IyeMary Brimah Sallu pitched Pin-up Healthcare, Hawanatu Sesay highlighted the IOT plant monitoring device, and Jenneh Bockarie Barnett introduced Sierrasister.

A distinguished panel of judges presided over the event, bringing diverse expertise to the evaluation process. This panel included Alfred Akibo-Betts, CEO of Betts Firm; Dr. Kadijatu G.A Kamara, Hon. Deputy Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs; Madam Estelle Van Eeckhout, Brussels Airlines General Manager; Mr. Edward Sesay, Orange Director of Wholesales and Roaming; and Madam Angella Leigh, a Software Engineer & Business Support Expert. Their collective insights ensured a comprehensive and well-informed assessment of the entrepreneurial ventures presented during the pitch session.

The First pitcher for the OSVP 2023 night was Sia Chakanda who serves as the executive director of the IMO Tech Solutions LTD. Her innovative project involves a tele-app platform designed to provide specialised medical care accessible to all Sierra Leoneans. Using secured video conferencing, patients can receive personalised medical attention, treatment plans, and digital prescriptions. Additionally, the platform offers secure storage for medical reports that can be exclusively shared with patients. One judge praised Sia for her idea, noting that it aligns with the event’s goal of providing convenient access to doctors for Sierra Leoneans. Another judge highlighted the potential of IMO Tech Solutions to benefit people in remote areas with digital medical care once the initiative is adopted by its intended audience. A female judge inquired about Sia’s backup plan if she didn’t win the competition. Sia shared her second plan, stating that she and her team would continue working on the project regardless of the competition outcome.

The second presenter, Andrew Dosumu, captivated the audience with his innovative idea called the “Liquid Airbox.” This groundbreaking technology aims to combat the rising issue of air pollution and its detrimental effects on the environment and human health. Andrew’s inspiration stems from the alarming increase in air pollution within the country. He highlighted the alarming statistic provided by the World Health Organization (WHO): 9 out of 10 people worldwide are exposed to polluted air. Shockingly, this dire situation contributes to 7 million deaths globally, surpassing even the combined fatalities caused by HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis. Andrew’s solution, the “Liquid Airbox”, endeavors to tackle this crisis by significantly reducing CO2 emissions and improving air quality. Through his pitch, Andrew underscored the urgent need for innovative solutions to address air pollution and its severe impact on public health and the environment. His project serves as a beacon of hope in the fight against this pressing global challenge. On completion of his pitch, one of the judges noted that the liquid air box is an invention that would mitigate the excess of carbon dioxide emission. However, he noted that some people prefer planting trees to investing in the liquid air box.

Isha Abdulai, the third participant among the top 5 grand finalists, introduced her project called “Crescent Salone.” What drove Isha to launch “Crescent Salone” was her personal experience as a sickle-cell warrior. This prompted her to establish a community-driven initiative that focuses on educating individuals with sickle cell disease. “Crescent Salone’s” mission is multifaceted. It aims to educate sickle cell warriors about effective pain and crisis management strategies, offers practical tips for living with the condition, and extends care packages to both sickle cell warriors and marginalized children. Isha shed light on the alarming prevalence of sickle cell anaemia in Sierra Leone. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), when the prevalence of this condition reaches 40% or higher, it is categorized as a severe public health issue. Sierra Leone falls within this category, highlighting the urgent need to address the challenges posed by sickle cell anaemia. Through “Crescent Salone”, Isha is working to make a positive impact on the lives of sickle cell warriors and marginalised children in Sierra Leone, raising awareness, and providing essential support for those affected by this condition.

One of the judges expressed appreciation for Isha’s concept, which focuses on educating individuals with sickle cell disease. The judge further emphasized the value of considering the establishment of a diagnosis centre to cater to a wider population. Another judge raised a question about the geographical scope of the initiative, asking if it was confined to Freetown. Isha responded by sharing her team’s ambition to expand the initiative’s reach beyond Freetown, indicating a desire to impact a broader region.



Mariama Mbayoh, the fourth finalist among the top grand finalists, addressed the considerable housing challenges faced by Sierra Leoneans, particularly in finding suitable homes in Freetown. She introduced her innovative project “Kam Rent Ya” as a solution to empower housing solutions in Sierra Leone and initiate much-needed change for individuals and families struggling to secure housing. Recognizing the pressing issue of housing scarcity, high costs, and unreliable information by the agents, Mariama launched “Kam Rent Ya” to leverage technology and entrepreneurship in streamlining the housing search process. The platform serves as a bridge between potential renters and reliable housing options by collecting comprehensive data on available properties and their surroundings. One of the core features of “Kam Rent Ya” is its advanced location scouting and data collection methods, allowing personalized housing options for each user.

Moreover, Mariama emphasised that “Kam Rent Ya” facilitates transparent communication between house owners and renters, enabling effective negotiations and fostering informed decisions. The project is poised to empower individuals by offering them the tools to make well-informed choices in locating their ideal homes. Through innovative technology and an entrepreneurial approach, “Kam Rent Ya” strives to alleviate the challenges associated with housing in Sierra Leone and provide a meaningful solution for both renters and property owners.

After Mariama’s pitch, one of the judges asked her if she was going to identify a specialised agent for the Kam Rent Ya platform since she mentioned that she would be dealing with a specialised agent. He also asked the pitcher how she was going to measure the survey to know whether the clients loved what they saw or not. To address this, the judge advised her to conduct a proper survey to know the people who are in need and house owners. Also to be keen in dealing with agents so as to avoid being fraud.

The Fifth and final pitcher of the top 5 Grand Prize finalists happen to be the winner of the 5th edition of the OSVP competition in Sierra Leone with a sum of  NLE 100,000, James Samba, the co-founder and CEO of Sierra Electric. “Sierra Electric” is his project idea to tackle the high rate of people in Sierra Leone losing their lives because of the pollution caused by the cars they drive. He mentioned that the problem does not only end there, it is also interesting to do that to every petrol or diesel vehicle. According to James, they are contributing towards the worsening climate affecting our environment by causing more people to suffer from illnesses such as cancer and other respiratory diseases and this also affects the country’s economy. But he said the most exciting part is that they have a solution introducing BYKA. BYKA is a 100% electric quadricycle that does not rely on fossil fuel, and it does not use either petrol or diesel for its operation.

BYKA innovation is very safe  for parents who can not afford a vehicle to take their child to school because of all its conventional features of safety. In  a situation where there is no light, it ought to believe that the vehicle can power itself so that it can compete with others in the future.


In the “Tech Queen” category, the top 3 finalists began with IyeMary Brimah-Sallu, the founder of the “Pin-Up Healthcare Mobile Application.” IyeMary introduced an innovative concept that aims to connect patients with professional doctors or specialised consultants, ensuring they receive the appropriate care. She highlighted a concerning statistic: out of every 10 hospitals, around 600 patients struggle to identify the right specialised doctors for their specific illnesses.

To address this challenge, “Pin-Up Healthcare Mobile Application” is designed to provide a comprehensive list of specialised doctors who can offer accurate diagnoses for specific diseases. This effort is supported by the Sierra Leone Medical and Dental Association (SLEMDA). Beyond being a mobile application, the project extends its reach to patients without smartphones, offering local short texting and requesting codes as well as a toll-free call system. This multi-faceted approach ensures that individuals of varying technological capabilities can access and benefit from the medical care service.

IyeMary Brimah-Sallu’s “Pin-Up Healthcare Mobile Application” showcases her commitment to bridging the gap between patients and specialised medical expertise, ultimately improving healthcare accessibility and quality for the people of Sierra Leone.

The judges recommended the pitcher for taking such an initiative to build an app and linking patients to specialized doctors. However, she was  advised that there should be proper care  regarding the profit margin as it should be realistic because there is no company in the world that can make 99% of the profit in such a short time.


Jenneh Bockarie-Bernett, the second pitcher among the top 3 finalists in the “Tech Queen” category, introduced her project named “Sierra Sisters.” Her innovative concept centres around creating opportunities for single mothers, especially teenage mothers, and widows, through an online platform. “Sierra Sisters” is an organisation that leverages an online application to generate employment for unemployed women who possess domestic skills but lack corporate expertise. The project aims to empower these women by offering well-structured services and providing a platform for them to enhance their skills in a professional manner. Notably, the organisation ensures that the terms and conditions are well-defined, offering legal protection to the women against any form of mistreatment from clients.

Jenneh’s initiative not only provides a means of income for marginalised women but also fosters skill development and empowerment. The platform allows clients to evaluate women’s performance and offer recommendations, thus promoting transparency and accountability. “Sierra Sisters” aligns with the broader objectives of the OSVP competition, showcasing the potential of technology to address societal challenges and create meaningful opportunities for underrepresented groups.

After her pitch, one of the judges advised that it would be nice for her to pay NASSIT and the PAYE for these women to help secure their future and that of their children when they might have retired. She was also encouraged to collaborate with BIKA.


Ms. Hawanatu Sesay, the third pitcher and co-founder of the Wi-AgricTech business, emerged as the Tech Queen Winner of the NLE 50,000 prize in the 5th edition of the OSVP competition in Sierra Leone. She addressed the prevailing gender disparity in the technology sector, where males tend to dominate, and her project serves as a bridge to empower more women in the tech world. Hawanatu’s project centres on Wi-AgricTech, a venture dedicated to designing Green and Smart farming technologies to enhance and elevate the quality of food production nationwide. She emphasised the significance of agricultural technologies in boosting crop yields and quality. The project aims to train over 500 farmers by 2025, focusing on cultivating vegetables that amount to produce 1 ton annually.

A pivotal aspect of Hawanatu’s initiative is the implementation of the Internet of Things (IoT) Smart Plant Monitoring device. This device employs cloud-based technology accessible via a smartphone. It is capable of detecting crucial parameters such as soil fertility, plant growth, and moisture levels. Remarkably, the device can autonomously make decisions on watering, light exposure, and nutrient levels, thereby ensuring optimal plant care.

The technology’s robust security measures, efficiency, and reliability contribute to its success in improving agricultural practices. Hawanatu’s Wi-AgricTech business aligns with the overarching mission of the OSVP competition, showcasing the potential of innovative solutions to address real-world challenges and create positive change.

At the end of her pitch, the judges commended the idea of smart agriculture as very timely as the government of Sierra Leone is committed to using technology to boost the production of agriculture. Another Judge encouraged her to do more and work on her conceived idea as she has won herself half of the money as a boost to implementing her project.  


       The event emphasised gender equality by promoting women’s participation in technology and entrepreneurship.

       Innovations presented aligned with SDGs, highlighting the potential of technology in education, healthcare, agriculture, and economic empowerment.

       Collaboration between the government, industry experts, and entrepreneurs was facilitated, fostering networking and potential partnerships.


In conclusion, the Orange Social Venture Prize (OSVP) 2023 in Sierra Leone stands as a testament to the power of innovation, entrepreneurship, and collaboration in driving positive change within Sierra Leone. With a strong emphasis on social innovation, technology-driven solutions, and gender equality, the event brought together a diverse array of entrepreneurs, experts, and dignitaries. In a broader context, the Orange Social Venture Prize Sierra Leone 2023 event underscored the potential of technology to drive social and economic progress. It exemplified how innovative solutions can tackle complex challenges, improve quality of life, and contribute to sustainable development. The event’s focus on inclusivity and gender equality further emphasised the importance of leveraging technology for social impact and empowerment. Ultimately, the OSVP 2023 event in Sierra Leone showcased the transformative journey of entrepreneurship, innovation, and collaboration. It provided a platform for visionary minds to present their solutions, celebrate their contributions, and inspire a brighter future for the country through technology-driven initiatives. The event encapsulated the spirit of progress and transformation, reflecting the potential of technology to drive positive change in Sierra Leone and beyond.

Fempreneur Pitch Night

 In a bid to select participants, Innovation SL posted a  CALL for applicants for the Freetown Pitch Night-fempreneur edition; with a star prize of $5,000, seven women were selected for the competition. Two-week prepping sessions were held in order to prepare them. During this time, they were given instructions on how they should showcase their ideas, to aid them with their pitch deck.

On the 26th of  April, 2023 the Freetown Pitch Night was held at the Limkokwing University, Hill Station, Freetown with the theme “FEMPRENEUR” (a platform where female entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to pitch their ideas and access seed funding). The event was hosted by  Ms. Margret Cassel and Ms.Francess Beresford- Renner. 

A keynote address was given by the company’s CEO/MD Mr. Francis Stevens-George who created a sense of purpose; in his speech, he stated the reason why Innovation SL partnered with Mercury International. Relatively, “for entrepreneurs to work we need a pipeline of ideas. To have new ideas to work we should have INVESTORS.” He further added that entrepreneurship has been the bedrock of development in Sierra Leone, for an entrepreneur to work there should be an ecosystem, for an ecosystem to work there should be a pipeline where new ideas as well as older ones strived. He emphasized that for both old and new ideas to strive there is a need for Investors, for that reason, there was a sense to appreciate Mr Martin  Michael, the MD of Mercury International, for deciding to collaborate with the Freetown pitch night by providing seed capital, especially for female entrepreneurs. Statistically, Sierra Leone has an estimate of 1.5 million women in the micro or small business sector and this sector accounts for 90% of the country’s economy. However these women have been struggling over the years to up-scale their businesses  because they lack funds and this is exactly why the fempreneur edition of Freetown Pitch night is a stitch in time.

Mr. Martin Michael explained that, since 2007 Mercury International has been involved in a wide variety of corporate social responsibilities by awarding scholarships to approximately 2000 students, providing abroad treatment for people with severe ailments and having built two schools.

Conversely, they were never introduced to such a platform wherein they could have the opportunity to aid entrepreneurs, which is why they had decided to partner with Innovation SL through the Freetown Pitch Night to provide a seed capital of $25,000 in total for five sessions of FPN and two out of the five sessions would be exclusively for female entrepreneurs. This is so because female entrepreneurs face the most challenges in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The emerging winner would help to alleviate poverty by creating job opportunities and payment of tax as that is what they are looking forward to. He left the stage thanking Mr. Stevens-George for the shared platform.

One of the hosts Ms. Francess Beresford-Renner ushered the panel of judges to introduce themselves and they were predominantly women, namely: Fatmata Sesay, John Wearing, Tafadzwa Chiganga, Waheed Awonuga and Mavis Madaure.

The pitch proper started immediately after the judges had introduced themselves and pitchers were reminded of the pitch’s rules which include the utilization of five minutes for presentation and two minutes for questions and answers, all summing up to seven minutes per pitcher.

The first pitcher for the night, Panashe Chikhata from Recycle2Skill, is a young hardworking and innovative female entrepreneur who has strong culinary and computer skills. She has been working with a team of four members; 3 female and 1 male that has the Practera programme, a programme that has been working with Seed Stars (an incubation company) in Switzerland. As a young female entrepreneur, she has a vision of empowering unskilled youths by providing them with skills at the cost of plastic waste. The business would have a positive impact: socially, economically and environmentally. This will help curb the problem of waste management and mitigate the issue of climate change.

The second pitcher Emily Kumba Fanday from ‘The Community’ has a peer-to-peer lending platform that has been allowing individuals or institutions to lend directly to borrowers in both formal and informal businesses. The community project was launched in 2022 having a population of 70 people; 30 female and 40 men. It has been seen as a viable market that provides loan services among institutions, businesses and individuals who are interested. Due to the huge market size, they have decided to have a low operation cost, minimal regulation, big data and technologies to streamline models. This is because they wanted to disrupt the system of how loans are given. To ensure the lender’s trust, the Community has a license of operations from the Bank of Sierra Leone which makes it reliable and secure. They had a business treat and control unit structure that would help lenders have better ROI.

The third pitcher was Mariama Bah from Rise Radio 96.3 FM who started by asserting that Climate change has been a global phenomenon caused by human activities primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas. Burning fossil fuel generates greenhouse gas emissions that act like a blanket wrapped around the earth, trapping the sun’s heat and raising the temperature. Looking at the topography of Sierra Leone, there is a dire need to discuss the

causes, impacts and solutions of climate change. Due to the lack of awareness (no specified programme on climate change by radio station) there was a sense of massive deforestation in both rural and urban areas causing flooding and soil erosion nationwide. This has impeded the production of agricultural goods.  Rise radio has a dedicated 4 hours radio program that would be providing radio content and radio drama that would be deemed fit for climate change discourse.

The fourth pitcher was Lydia Bernard-Jones from ‘The Bridge’ who has proved to be a link between young Sierra Leoneans and the opportunities to get resources in order to maximize their potential.  There are many students in Sierra Leone who lacked the opportunities of having scholarships and they needed someone to cross the bridge, by creating a platform for scholarship opportunities ranging from secondary school to university and sharing links with peers and mentors in their field internationally. The bridge would provide prestigious and productive young people equipped with experience to be competitive in their careers. This would build a strong cohort of youths that would be equipped with the skills.

 The fifth pitcher Nippy Bah is the leader of ‘Mamie Coker. Mamie Coker’ has a project that ensures young people employment in Sierra Leone. It’s a team made up of 5 members; 3 females and 2 males experienced in code and web development. The project stemmed from the fact that a girl was in desperation to secure a job. Relatively, a platform called Mamie-Coker was created to connect clients with skilled and reliable workers. From the research that was conducted, approximately 100 people were asked about their pressing needs and what they were willing to pay for. 70% said they are willing to pay for skilled workers.  Such could be applicable by creating profiles for both businesses and prospective workers, connecting clients to workers or hiring workers on behalf of the client and monitoring until the job is done and encouraging feedback from both workers and clients. Using technological tools, it would improve access to service in various skilled service fields and also promote digital literacy in an efficient manner.

Fatmata Kargbo, the penultimate pitcher from Tamara Millennium company, expressed that their business vision is to empower underprivileged women by providing them with essential training to help them sustainably earn their daily income. She explained that their financial struggles are often caused by the lack of seed capital and knowledge on how to utilize it.

Therefore, there was a need to create Agro-forestry cooperation for these women to get training on crop practice which would increase production. They would be providing basic business management skills as well as bookkeeping while making sure that they would be weeding the seed bed and proper farm check-ups. Participatory field research was conducted; the research informed that, if they had been working with them it would have been better.

Ms Hawanatu Sesay, the final pitcher, co-founder of the Wi-AgricTech business which focused on designing Green and Smart farming technologies to improve and increase the quality of food products nationwide. In Sierra Leone, the males have outshone females when it comes to technology which is why she served as a bridge to connect more females in the tech world. That is why she focused on farming technologies to increase the production of crops. With these technologies, they would train over 500 farmers by 2025 for the cultivation of vegetables worth 1 ton annually. The io T plant monitoring device through a cloud-based technology via phone could detect soil fertility, plant growth and moisture level of the plant, it could take an automatic decision on behalf of an individual regarding water, light penetration and nutrient level. The technology has been highly secure, efficient and reliable.

Madam Isatu Harrison the CEO/founder of creative hub Africa and Izelia Fashion who was the guest speaker for the night, started her speech by explaining that she obviously did not wake up one day and got to where she is currently as she had to go through some rough patch and challenging times. Cleaning was her first business; she started with a mop and a bucket where she employed 10 people and had some others as part-timers. The cleaning business was successful as she had a Ghanaian woman who worked so hard to own part of the company. She later sold the business and pursued a hairdressing venture which she fancied; ended up selling the cleaning business and failed in the hairdressing saloon. She relentlessly moved over to being a seamstress as all she had left was a singer machine and some Ankara pieces, being a business person who has always had a knack for fashion she then ventured into the fashion industry with just a sewing machine and eventually developed the brand called Izelia, which is well known today for its signature gara tye fashion prints all over the entrepreneurial ecosystem. She finally encouraged young female entrepreneurs to use what they have until they can get what they need.

At the final phase of the event, the judges have presented gifts of appreciation on behalf of Innovation SL before declaring the winner. Certificates were presented to all the pitchers

respectively, starting from the rear. The judges unanimously declared “the Community ” led by Emily Kumba Fanday as the winner of the 2023 Freetown Pitch Night, fempreneur edition. The MD of mercury international, Mr. Martin Michaels presented the cheque of $500 as seed capital to the winner and the event was concluded with an atmosphere of excitement and high anticipation for the next edition of the Freetown Pitch Night slated for the 13th of  May 2023.    

 REPORTED BY- George Garber

EDITED BY- Francess Beresford-Renner

Entrepreneurship World Cup Open to All Entrepreneurs in Sierra Leone

The Entrepreneurship World Cup is open for 2021 and is accepting applications – aiming to expand past the 175,000 contestants from 200+ countries in its first year. The program offers a chance to pitch on a global stage for a share of US$1 million in cash prizes plus additional investment opportunities and another US$750,000 in in-kind support.

Innovation SL/GEN SL is the official national organizer for Sierra Leone, helping entrepreneurs across the country start and scale.

“Enabling Sierra Leone’s Entrepreneurial Ecosystem”

But EWC is more than just a global pitch competition with a shot at life-changing prizes. It elevates entrepreneurs from all stages—idea-stage, early-stage, growth-stage or beyond— by providing them with tools and resources to grow their venture.

EWC Accelerates is a virtual training and mentorship program that helps entrepreneurs hone their skills and increase their chances of winning their national competitions – as well as those who advance to the Global Finals.

The EWC online platform also offers all contestants who complete an application, access to more than $25,000 in perks from partners such as Google Cloud, Hubspot, Stripe and more.

National Finals competitions are held through June 2021. In November 2021, 100 startups will be flown to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to participate in the EWC Accelerates program for an intensive startup bootcamp and to compete in the EWC Global Finals.

To compete

For questions- email to