This month’s Pitch Night Theme “Exponential Technology, Digital/Industrial Disruptor/Fintech” was held at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology on the 28th of September 2022. This is a night where different innovators come to pitch their ideas on technologies that have the potential to cause broader societal transformation by changing the existing economic sectors, and tenets of work, production, and consumption. Mrs. Emily Bah chaired the event by starting with individual prayers and welcoming the guests and thereafter she explained the significance of the event as an opportunity for startups/entrepreneurs to not just market their products/businesses but also to solicit feedback to help their businesses grow. After the three judges of the event namely Mr. Ibrahim Barry, Madam Tafadzwa Chiganga, Madam Priscilla Oke-Chukwu, and Mr. Aiah James, have introduced themselves, Mrs. Emily called on the Managing Director of Innovation SL, Mr. Francis Stevens George to give a short statement.
Mr. Francis talked about the difference between Exponential technologies and exponential innovation. He stated that it is not easy to know that a particular technology is exponential. He further defined exponential innovation as a technology that can cross into another industry background.
After the statement from the MD, the host called on the first pitcher Mr. Chernoh Jagitay, a member of CJ Bem. Mr. Jagitay highlighted in his pitch that as a company their aim is to solve the problem of lack of proper inventory management, lack of billing and sales structure, crude, manual or complex bookkeeping, and no simple but advanced mobile solution (POS) to operate customer’s physical or online stores. They are proposing to develop a mobile point of sale (android) for shop operations, a storefront (e-commerce) function to accept and process online orders, simple but advanced reports for decision making, and also low operational costs.
The judges congratulated the pitcher but commented that he did not mention his team members. Madam Priscilla recommended that he improve his pitch deck and his presentation. Mr. Ibrahim Barrie asked who is managing the app, especially the backend, and how they manage the app. He also asked how they collect and manage the data that comes from the backend. Madam Tafadzwa asked what his biggest challenges in getting people to sign-up are. Mr. Aiah James asked if the application could work offline.
The second pitcher Mr. Sal Kuyateh explained that he has developed his project called “Bintumani'' which is a cryptocurrency system because he wants to solve the problem of endless fees, too many middlemen activities, and also the problem of the West African monetary system losing its valuation and at risk of being obsolete. His system which he called “Bintumani.io” will be creating a Defi problem alongside cryptocurrencies which will be available 24/7 with very few limitations compared to mobile money services.
Madam Tafadzwa thanked Mr. Sal Kuyateh and asked him what challenges he has seen to encourage him on the cryptocurrency in Sierra Leone. Madam Priscilla asked about features he has put in place that are different from the other platforms and what will motivate her to use his platform instead of the other platforms. Mr. Aiah James asked Mr. Sal if he thinks Sierra Leone is ready for cryptocurrency right and if he did any research on that. Mr. Francis asks if Mr. Kuyateh has been to the regulatory environment.
The third and final pitcher for the event, Mr. Emmanuel S. Kamara said that they intend to develop the Freetown Markit System because of the problem of the lack of ease and comfort of purchasing products offline from B2B and B2C added with the issue with the payment system and the lack of trust in vendors in e-commerce platforms. The system will provide an E-commerce (App & website) platform for online vendors that have a payment system to their account by providing a payment system to educate vendors and consumers about scams and also help small businesses reach their full potential in the market.
The Judges thanked Mr. Bangura for such a brilliant presentation. Mr. Aiah James asked how he will manage such huge data on his platform. Also, he was asked if he is going to develop a new payment system or if he is going to work on an existing system. Mr. Barry asks how he is going to protect customers from scammers. Madam Priscilla encourages him to move on with his dreams and make sure that he brings them to reality.
Madam Emily then called on the guest speaker Mr. John Wearing who is the advisor at Invest Salone, and a former World Bank and UK Government economist. Mr. Wearing said he is a big fan of the pitch night. He spoke on disruptive technology and said in society there are a very small number of people trying to solve problems in disruptive ways. He told them that they can be the ones to solve huge problems in the business world with their unique ideas that will make people love them. He encouraged them to ask questions and try to define if they liked what they were doing, which will help their business to be valued. Lastly, he told them that pitching is not all about money but what they can achieve and learn from it.
As the theme of this month states, the platform was lively with brilliant ideas from the pitchers and tremendous advice, comments, and questions from the judges. The Pitch Night was interactive as Mrs. Emily calls on Mr. Ibrahim from Built Accounting to give a short talk on their business. Mr. Ibrahim stated that they are currently working on their platform which will assist businesses and employees as they currently have incorporated payroll in their system to keep their monthly records in it. It will also help employees to see historical payments in their system. She also engaged the audience to keep their questions for the pitchers after the event as there is no time for that now. She then encourages the audience to play a short game called speed networking where every guest will interact with each other and build a network for five minutes.
The event was brought to an end when the judges announced the winners of the pitch event. Madam Priscilla announced that Mr. Sal Kuyateh came third followed by Mr. Emmanuel Kamara who came second while Mr. Chernor Jagitay was the winner. Emily then presented the gifts to the judges and called on Mr. Fraizer to present the gift to the guest speaker. Mrs. Emily ended the event by thanking everyone before she gave the closing remark and vote of thanks.