Thank you all for being here tonight and for joining us in celebrating the incredible advancements in exponential technology. It has been an evening filled with inspiration, innovation, and the limitless possibilities that lie ahead.
First and foremost, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to our esteemed judges and pitchers who have shared their knowledge and expertise with us. Your insights have not only enlightened us but have also ignited a spark within us to continue pushing the boundaries of what is possible.
In any developed society, innovation is at the forefront to promote growth and help ensure the organisation can compete with new market trends. Innovation SL is an entrepreneurship organisation whose pivotal aim is to nurture the entrepreneurial ecosystem and innovation. The programme was hosted by Ms. Frances Beresford Renner. She welcomed all to the Freetown Pitch Night event, where she gave an insight into the importance of innovation and the importance of exponential tech. She added that exponential technology is a technology that comprises a lot of technologies that propel beyond boundaries.
After the introductory speech by the host, the Chief of Operations of Innovation SL, Madam Hassanatu Jalloh, proudly welcomed audiences to the September edition of the Freetown Pitch Night. She further stated that this September edition comes without a cash prize; however, the top two winners would qualify for the October edition, which has a cash prize of $5,000 that will be sponsored by Mercury International. This was immediately followed by the judges introducing themselves and the pitchers were reminded of the rules of the pitch, which included five minutes to pitch and two minutes to answer possible questions from the judges, the pitch event started.
The first pitcher, Shanu Vandi, an experienced and passionate entrepreneur who has a strong background in software development and project management, pitched on behalf of Connecticket SL Ltd. Connecticket SL Ltd. is an organisation that has the vision to change the way people secure tickets to witness events by creating a simple and secured ticketing platform that would have seamless access to the entertainment industry. The ticket is built with a tamper-proof feature to inform you if anything has been altered. It exerts economic sustainability by creating jobs that generate revenue and promote sustainable practice.
After his pitch, the judges asked him what his payment methods are to which he responded that they do use the Orange Money platform for accessibility and reachability. Another Judge asked what strategies he has put in place to tap into 60% of his target audience. He responded that they would be going to beach bars, social clubs, and entertainment centers in order to tap into the market potential.
The second pitcher for the night was Abdul Majid Bah from Eco-waste. Mr. Bah has the passion to see farmers have a good yield at the end of the year. As a result of this, the eco-waste organisation has a dire need to solve the issue of a lack of knowledge about arable land that is suitable for different kinds of crops planted across Sierra Leone.
Eco-waste is an organisation that prides itself on providing an eco-friendly environment to farmers and helping them understand the type of soil that is deemed fit to cultivate. The device would significantly aid farmers in understanding the moisture and nutritional content of the soil that they are using and the kind of crop to be cultivated.
In their remarks, the Judges asked if the code intervention had anti-thief and weather-proof features. The pitcher responded that the device does have a weather-proof system but lacks the anti-theft feature. However, a person will be deployed to serve as security. Another Judge asked how farmers can access the website; to which he responded that they can access it via WhatsApp sharing. A third Judge asked if any visibility study was conducted and Mr. Bah said yes. They did the visibility study and they were able to know that nitrogen and phosphorous were hugely present in the soil. This makes the production poor.
The third pitcher, Alfred A. Kamara, pitched on behalf of the Bullom Innovation Hub. The Bullom Innovation Hub is a team made up of four members who are manufacturers of local multimedia projectors that are affordable and easy to operate in learning institutions, especially those with a huge number of students or pupils per classroom or lecture room. The multimedia projector is a virtual environment designated to reduce the massive use of markers and foster interactivity and effective learning that would enhance collaboration and effective communication. As a result of this innovation, there would be job opportunities, especially for youth, which would be an economic boost.
In the Q&A session, the Judges asked how disruptive multimedia projector is; and the pitcher responded that it does because it is portable and wireless. A second Judge asked how the pitchers secure materials, to which the pitcher replied that they secure their materials within Sierra Leone. A third Judge asked what the pitcher’s social impact is and he replied that it would increase human capacity-building.
The fourth pitcher, Sulaiman Sesay, is the CEO and founder of Smart & Safety Bus. Smart & Safety Bus is an online rostrum that would have easy access to bus booking and reservation that provide convenience for commuters. The platform has features where bus owners can trace passengers' databases and practice proper time management. This would ensure affordability and a predetermined ticket price at the customer's convenience.
During the Q&A session, the Judges asked what his cost fixed and he answered that the fixed cost changes as time elapses. The second Judge asks if the project is still in the ideation stage or not. The pitcher’s answer was “We are still working on our prototype”.
The final pitcher Arnold Caulker of Arnold’s Renewable Energy is a talented innovator with eight years of experience in solar installation. As an electrical installer, he has made a tremendous impact on green energy by creating a low-frequency inverter generator to produce constant and clean electricity. It encompassed an auto-renewable charging port suitable for both wind turbines and solar panels, as well as a thunder-strike protector. These features of low-frequency inverter generators help mitigate global warming. In his speech, he stated that” according to the World Bank report for 2021, 27.49% of Sierra Leoneans are without electricity”. This has led to an increase in the use of gasoline generators, which has a devastating impact on climate change. With the advent of the low-frequency inverter generator, customers are assured of having a carbon-free and noise-free environment where they can have access to clean and quality air.
The Judges thanked Mr. Caulker and asked him what was unique about his product. The pitcher replied that it is unique because it is an auto-renewable source which is having both solar and wind turbines. A second judge asked if the pitcher had any blueprints for his work since he said it is on YouTube and the pitcher said he does not have it yet. When asked for the cost of the Inverter generator, the pitcher responded that it would cost 140 dollars for 100 watts.
At the final phase of the event, the judges were presented gifts on behalf of Innovation SL before declaring the winner. Certificates were presented to the pitchers, respectively, starting from the rear. The judges unanimously declared Alfred A. Kamara as the winner, followed by Shanu Vandi and Abdul Majid Bah for the Freetown Pitch Night, September edition.