In 2018 Pitch Night established itself as the country’s most successful gathering of entrepreneurs. In 2018, more 60 entrepreneurs pitched an idea or a post revenue business. Approximately 1000 people attended Freetown Pitch Night 2018; with the Pitch event for the Mayor the largest single attended event with over 167 persons.
The themes in 2018 were Agtech, Fintech, Digital Disruptors, Waste to Wealth, Social Entrepreneurship, Sustainable Designs, Life Style and Wellness (SG3), EdTech, Agribusiness and BDS. In 2019, we will bring in 4 new themes- Water, Sustainable Energy, Creative Arts and Photography and AI.
In 2018, we provided services to the IOM and Government of Japan, Cordaid, The Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation-DSTI and The Freetown City Council.
We have had 5 entrepreneurs who pitched an idea have been able to move from ideation to conceptualization; 10 entrepreneurs with post revenue business obtained contracts from customers. We have also seen a number of forged relationships with a mentor or adviser that have seen their idea or the business developed in a strategic direction. We also witnessed in 2018, several entrepreneurs connecting and supplying each other goods and services. Mr. Tahir who pitched at our social entrepreneurship event, team up with Home Leone to plant several hundred trees in the newly built homes in Newton.
We maintain a database of all of pitchers which has become a valuable source of data on entrepreneurs in various sectors.
Since November of 2018, Innovation SL has opened its Incubator and Co Working space called Innovations Axis. We can now begin to have a formal incubation of most promising entrepreneurs. We already have 3 starts from the Freetown Pitch night in our programs.
We have also had several prominent guests, panellist and guest speakers.
Several prominent panellists have been:
Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr – Her Lordship, Mayor of Freetown, Ram Shankerdaas -GK Shankerdaas, Edleen B Elba, Memuna Janneh, Mariama Kamara, Aminata Kane Ndiaye- CEO GT Bank , Harrison Kwach- Welthungerhilfe, Jordan McGwiin-PIH, Winston Williams-EcoBank, Salton Masally, Randa Swaid , Magaret Kadi- CEO of Pangea, Precious Ebidu Lamin, Madeleine Sahr-Marah- CEO of GT Bank money Sierra Leone, Brian Conton, Estelle Van Echout-MD Brussels Airlines, Kumba Musa- STEM Women/ TechWomen
Prominent Guest Speakers have been:
Dr. Derrin Smith- Economic and Commercial Attache-US Embassy; Mohammed Sesay- Country Director Cordaid; David Kamara- ACTB; Dr. David Sengeh-Chief Innovation Officer.
Prominent Guests have been:
Herman Chiney Hesse (The Bill Gates of Africa); Tom Vens (EU Ambassador); The Mayor of Freetown; The Head of IOM; Minister of Youth Affairs; Aina Moore (MD of Ecobank); Daff Tilburg (MD of Heineken); The Irish Ambassador; and many more.