TRIBUTE FOR MR. JOHN WEARING

Innovation SL mourns the passing of Mr. John Wearing, a cherished consultant, judge, and mentor who left an indelible mark on our organization and the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem in Sierra Leone. Mr. Wearing’s passing on Saturday, April 20th, 2024, leaves a void that will be deeply felt.

Mr. Wearing’s contributions extended far beyond his role as a consultant on a specific project. He embodied the spirit of Innovation SL, acting as a teacher, leader, and mentor to our team. His vast knowledge served as a beacon, guiding our research efforts and illuminating the path towards a more vibrant entrepreneurial landscape.

Beyond the walls of Innovation SL, Mr. Wearing’s impact resonated through his participation as a judge in numerous Freetown Pitch Nights. His presence inspired countless aspiring entrepreneurs, and his insights proved invaluable in shaping the future of Sierra Leone’s startups.

Mr. Wearing was more than just a consultant; he was a friend, a guide, and a champion for innovation. His dedication to fostering a thriving entrepreneurial environment will be deeply missed.

We at Innovation SL offer our heartfelt condolences to the Wearing family, both at home and abroad. May they find solace in the knowledge that Mr. Wearing’s legacy will continue to inspire future generations of entrepreneurs in Sierra Leone. We will cherish his memory and strive to carry forward the torch of innovation that he so brightly ignited.

Julliet Josiah
FREETOWN INNOVATION WEEK CALL FOR APPLICATION

We cordially invite you to participate in the second annual Freetown Innovation Week (FIW), a groundbreaking event that aims to transform Sierra Leone’s innovation landscape. Building on the success of our inaugural event, we are excited to announce that this year’s program will be even more impactful and engaging. FIW is a week-long event dedicated to celebrating innovation, bringing together entrepreneurs, researchers, businesses, and the wider community to showcase cutting-edge ideas, encourage collaboration, spark creativity, and drive innovation within Freetown. This is a rare opportunity to showcase your own innovative ideas and contribute to shaping the future. To express your interest in participating in FIW, please register via the provided link https://forms.gle/GKcpMrZ1WUZW9nDL8 or scan QR code on the flyer. Let’s work together to create a brighter future.

#creatingthefuturetoday #EmpoweringEntrepreneurs #Entrepreneurship #BigInnovations

Pamella Haruna
Reducing Post Harvest Loss Pitch Night Event

EVENT REPORT: Freetown Pitch Night 2024 (FPN)

DATE: February 14, 2024

VENUE: Limkokwing University, Hill Station

THEME:  REDUCING POST-HARVEST LOSS

INTRODUCTION:

The first edition of the 2024 Freetown Pitch Night event is dedicated to addressing post-harvest loss in Sierra Leone. The February edition was hosted at the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Hill Station, Freetown, on the 14th of February 2024, themed: REDUCING POST HARVEST LOSSES. The theme was chosen as a way to address global challenges and how to ensure food security for a world-growing population whilst ensuring long-term sustainable development for Sierra Leoneans.

As an entrepreneurship support-led organisation, Innovation SL is geared towards nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem to accelerate growth, disruptive and value-creating start-ups by creating a strong and efficient ecosystem that sows viable seeds for Sierra Leone innovators and businesses.

The host Ms Francis Beresford Renner started the event by welcoming the audience to the first edition of the Freetown Pitch Night 2024 and gave a synoptical background on post-harvest loss.

Mr. Francis Stevens George, MD/CEO of Innovation SL, delivered a heartily welcome speech that created a sense of purpose. He stated that the theme was chosen as a result of the feasibility studies on vegetable cold chains that Innovation SL conducted. Innovation SL was selected by ILO to conduct the research. From the findings, 51% of women who engage in agriculture are the most affected people and post-harvest loss is affecting every Sierra Leonean.

According to the African Post Harvest Institute report 2022, 17% of the grain we harvest in Sierra Leone is lost, and 12% of the total rice production which is approximately 890 tone, 110,000 tone bags is lost.  15% of vegetables are lost. In a developed country the loss rate is about 20%, in a developing country like Sierra Leone it is about 40% loss.

Statistically, the agriculture sector is made up of 65% of our GDP employment but the level of productivity is so low.

As an ESO our modus operandi is partnership. We have the honour to partner with WFP and

Our focus this year is to bring more entrepreneurs into the ecosystem whose ideas will help to address this problem. “Every small solution is a solution, it doesn't mean to be big,”  said Mr Francis Stevens George.

The event was attended by the Irish Ambassador, H.E Aidan Fitzpatrick and his wife Niamh Fitzpatrick and various dignitaries such as Madam Yvonne, head of the World Food Programme and Ahmed Nanoh of SL Chamber of Agriculture Development. 

Madam Yvonne, head of the World Food Programme said that the WFP is committed to fighting hunger in Sierra Leone and for that reason, they are happy to partner with Innovation SL to host the post-harvest loss pitch night. According to her, the fact of the matter is that we must consume what we produce, and not only about production. She promised to work with young people, especially entrepreneurs to revamp the business sector.  

Ms Francess Beresford-Renner informed the panel of judges to introduce themselves. The panel consisted of three judges whose names are:

Kadijah  Isata. Jalloh(UN Women), William Hopkins(WFP) and Papa Njai(Milton Margai) 

At this point, pitchers were informed to utilize five minutes to pitch their business idea and two minutes for both judges and pitchers to ask questions and to respond to questions being asked.

PITCH COMPETITION 

The first pitcher Foday Ibrahim Kamara from Fortelleum is the CEO and founder of Fortelleum Agric. Fortelleum Agric is an organisation that is committed to tackling post-harvest loss for fruit and vegetables by using solar photovoltaic technology. Solar photovoltaic technology(solarized cooling box) is an innovative cooling system that is designed to extend the shelf life of vegetables especially lettuce, carrots and tomatoes that is sustainable and environmentally friendly; reducing the need for traditional cooling methods. The Fortelleum solarized cooling box can consume the least energy, and least operational cost and has a temperature and humidity control system making their products unique and different from their competitors.

As an organisation, they have been working closely with farmers to ensure that there is enough fruit and vegetables during post-harvest. In a bid to solve the frustration faced by farmers, the organisation has been solving problems like expensive cooling options, lack of good storage facilities, pest and disease infestation and high loan interest.

Due to the huge market demand, they have decided to innovate the first-in-kind mobile affordable and accessible design for cooling that is suitable for off-grid and remote areas and can be easily adapted among target and users.

The judges asked how the technology can be accessed in terms of cost. In his response, the technology cost $155.

Another judge asked if this technology is being used what will be the shell life of the product and the capacity in terms of volume?

He responded by saying that the product would last for 4 weeks and it could have a volume capacity of 10-15kg.

He was advised to review his statistic figure since the one he presented is not up-to-date

Abubakarr Fofanah the second pitcher explained that his business, Agro Links aims to solve the problem of Post-harvest loss for Vegetables (Cucumber, Pepper, Tomato & Cabbage) for local farmers in rural communities due to inadequate storage facilities and transportation means for goods by providing transportation and storage facilities for local farmers.

In his presentation, Mr Abubakarr elucidated the business model, market validation and marketing plan.

During the Question & Answer session, the judges asked how is he going to find the vehicle and how is he going to address the issue of petrol price.  He responded by saying for a start he would use a tricycle in the placement of the vehicle and as time elapsed he would venture to use the vehicle. As a way to tackle the petrol issue, he will go to his identified customers to prevent him from wasting fuel in search of a client. 

He was advised by one of the judges to consider the farmers as his key partner and how there would be a win-win intervention and not to be too mindful about making a profit. Since post-harvest starts from the harvest he should have captured how the process will be done, and his method of arrangement with the farmer should also be considered.

Another judge asked how he was going to scale up his business. He responded by saying they would start little and the more farmers we have the bigger we become.

The third pitcher for the night, Kumba Sandi and Alice Marian Gbondo, the CEO of EcoFresh, is a young dynamic female entrepreneur who over the years has developed a strong passion for agriculture. EcoFresh is a 24/7 solar-powered walk-in cold room for storage for the preservation of perishable foods. They also create a market link for farmers and potential buyers. In that regard, Ecofresh has been playing a vital role in minimising post-harvest losses by providing preservation facilities that have helped promote sustainable income for smallholder farmers.

As young entrepreneurs, they have developed a strong vision of promoting the FEED SALONE initiative to mitigate the problem of vegetable and fruit wastage by Sierra Leoneans. For that reason, they are working assiduously to see every Sierra Leonean have access to proper square meals. 

The EcoFresh business can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and conserve environmental resources. Economically, farmers can maximize profit while promoting secured fresh food and creating employment opportunities for women and youths.

One of the judges asked where EcoFresh is now and where it is planning to go. She responded by saying that they are presently expanding their reach 

Another asked about the rationale behind the $10000. They want to promote their business to other districts.

Are you going to rely on EDSA or not and what the cost said one of the judges? NO, we rely heavily on solar panels to produce electricity that will power our cold room. The cost for cooling is le10 per crate.

The fourth pitcher, Michael Nabieu, founder of Forum for Agriculture, Innovation and Empowerment of Children and Youths-Sierra Leone(FAIECY-SL) goal is to construct and design a state-of-the-art Solar Energy Dryer in Sierra Leone. This facility will cater specifically to the needs of local farmers, providing them with an ideal environment for preserving perishable crops. In his pitch, Mr Michael emphasised that the drying process is completed in the most hygienic and eco-friendly way. He further discussed how solar energy works, his business model, marketing plan and tractions/ financials, and how the business will generate income

The judges asked Michael Nabieu what his contribution was to the project. According to him, he will be educating farmers on the need to use the Solar Energy Dryer and the benefits that follow. Conversely discourages them from using the traditional method of preservation.

He was advised by one of the judges to incorporate people who have backgrounds in hygiene, engineering and food science since he is trying to offer a hygienic and eco-friendly facility

The penultimate pitcher, Kunba Florence co-founder of Eden Agro business is an experienced and passionate entrepreneur who has been working with a team of three members: Mary Dundas, David J.M Bangura and Jenerene Koroma pitch on behalf of Eden Agro.

Eden Agro is an organisation whose vision is to see Sierra Leoneans achieve food sustainability through the dehydration of perishable crops and fruit. They envisage alleviating seasonal fruit and vegetable wastages by adding nutritional preservation to make the fruits and vegetables have an exceptional taste and texture and have a long shelf life. It ushers economic sustainability by creating jobs that yield revenue for sustainable development

Kumba Florence was advised by one of the judges to find an alternative for the coal as the use it is not environmentally friendly, which can lead to massive deforestation. Further, she should consider the structure of her team as it should comprise people who are knowledgeable in terms of hygiene and more.

In the area of certification, our products are certified by the standard bureau said Kunba Florence

The final pitcher, Ibrahim Papanie Mboma is the executive director of Mamawa Muyengay Agric Business Enterprise with years of experience in agribusiness

This business has been in operation since 2021; having five members and has established a customer base in Kenema and Kailahun.

According to Mr. Mboma, the company has been manufacturing a variety of food from cassava plants such: as cassava flour,  garri milk and sugar, animal feed for small ruminant animals and cassava leaf powder. 

As a result of this innovation, there are job opportunities especially for young people by engaging themselves in tailoring work and the network of bag selling. 

According to the panel of judges, the product is attractive but not environmentally friendly and he should be consistent on the packing information. He was advised to try and register all his variety of produce at the standard bureau for the European market and not only Sierra Leone, depicted as having been certified by Local Content. He should try to consider another alternative for plastic for his product to be environmentally friendly. 

THE RESEARCH PORTFOLIO

The research portfolio has an incredible potential to drive a positive change within the realms of innovation and entrepreneurship in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. According to the research lead, Madam Millicent Iye Koiwa said that they have designed, managed and implemented high-calibre projects on entrepreneurship development in Sierra Leone that focused on unlocking valuable insights. These insights have helped connect the right support program and resources to foster collaboration. The team is made up of experts who have developed several businesses, supply chain optimization and have analysed data. The portfolio has partnered with several international organisations such as the International Labour Organisation, Village Capital and the Africa Development Bank.

GUEST SPEAKERS’ REMARK

Joseph Boxall, the founder of Bamboo2, said he developed a love for bamboo2 as a result of its strength. Bamboo2 in other parts of the world is being used as an alternative to iron rods because it cannot easily break, this is a direct substitute. Bamboo2 has three main areas of focus: education, food security and climate change. For food security, it served as a nitrogen fixer and food for livestock. Farmers could integrate bamboo cultivation into their forage system to enhance feed sufficiency and diversity and improve animal productivity, as well as food security. They could use it to irrigate their farmlands. Educationally, bamboo could be used as an artisanal craft,  to make house furniture, musical instruments, paper, bicycles and biodegradable diapers. 

JUDGES FEEDBACKS AND COMMENTS 

The judges expressed their appreciation to all the pitchers for their outstanding performance in pitching their business idea as they are all winners in which three pitchers will qualify for the incubation process. They were encouraged to accept the feedback and work very hard to improve their grey areas. According to the judges they were looking out for a business idea that is sustainable and can address climate change. However, three of them succeeded in convincing the bench and they emerged as the winners.  

CONCLUSION 

Conclusively, certificates were presented to the respective participants, starting from the rear. The judges unanimously agreed and declared  Michael Nabieu, founder of Forum for Agriculture, Innovation and Empowerment of Children and Youths-Sierra Leone as the winner, while Foday Ibrahim Kamara from Fortelleum and Kumba Florence co-founder of Eden Agro business. All three of them qualified for the incubation programme at Innovation SL.

Finally, Mr. Francis Steven-George expressed his thanks and appreciation to both the judges and the pitchers for their amazing work. He informed the pitchers that they are now part of Innovation SL’s 2024 strategy, the incubation, to see that these ideas thrive. 

Madam Yvonne, head of the World Food Programme said that dry vegetables can be used especially for school feeding programmes in Sierra Leone. Teaching cooks how to use both fresh and dry vegetables and to see how solar pilots can be developed. She encouraged pitchers to fine-tune their business model and the tech should be affordable. Mr. Steven-George emphasised that they should fall in love with the people whose problems they want to solve. This can be achieved by using the “low tech” as the ecosystem in Sierra Leone is flourishing because young people are thinking of the problem they want to solve.

Pamella Haruna
Reducing Post Harvest Loss through low tech, scalable and climate smart ideas in the agricultural sector to pitch their ideas and get invaluable business support opportunities.

Innovators wanted! Have a game-changing solution for reducing post-harvest loss , through Low tech , Scalable and Climate smart ideas?

Apply now to showcase your idea at Freetown Pitch Night by Innovation SL.

Your chance to seize invaluable business support awaits – act fast!

To apply kindly click the link below

 

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EVENT REPORT: FREETOWN PITCH NIGHT

DATE: 13 DECEMBER, 2023

VENUE: Limkokwing University, Hill Station

THEME: Sustainable Fashion & Heritage

The monthly Freetown Pitch Night event is dedicated to celebrating and promoting groundbreaking ideas. This month’s pitch night was hosted at the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Hill Station, Freetown, on December 13th 2023, and started from 4:30pm – 7:30pm bearing the theme: SUSTAINABLE FASHION & HERITAGE. 

Innovation SL is an entrepreneurship support-led organisation that is geared towards nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem to accelerate growth, disruptive and value creating start-ups by creating a robust and efficient ecosystem that sow viable seeds for Sierra Leone innovators and business.

The event was hosted by Fatmata Turay, a staff at Innovation SL who started the event by welcoming the audience to the last pitch night event of the year. The event was initiated with a hearty welcome oration delivered by Mr. Francis Stevens George, MD/CEO of Innovation SL, who created a sense of purpose. He highlighted to the audience that “for entrepreneurs to work there should be a need for a pipeline where old and new ideas can thrive in an entrepreneurial ecosystem.” He further applauded Mr. Martin Michael, the MD of Mercury international, for making a ‘conscious decision’ to collaborate with Innovation SL through Freetown Pitch Night providing seed capital of $25,000.  He expressed his appreciation to the entire Innovation team for their dedication in making things feasible.

The Public Relation Practitioner of Mercury International, Mr. Caulker explained that since 2017 Mercury International has been engaging in corporate social responsibility. He further stated that 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 had exclusively been for female entrepreneurs.

The host, madam Fatmata Turay ushered the panel of judges to introduce themselves. The judges consisted of predominantly women, namely: Isatu Harrison (CEO Izelia Fashion World & Creative Hub Africa), Kadiatu Kamara (CEO Vivid Emporium), Beresford Bournes-Coker (Chief Operation Officer, Mercury International) and Joyce Abigail Coulson-Olowu, Lecture IPAM). At this point, pitchers were reminded of the rules, designated five minutes each to pitch their business ideas and two minutes allocated to both judges and pitchers to ask questions and to respond to questions being asked.

PITCH COMPETITION

The first pitcher for the night, Memunatu Bah who happened to be the CEO of Chocco Collection, is a young dynamic content creator and an innovative female entrepreneur who has a strong passion for fashion design. In the evolving world of clothing, Chocco Collection has been playing a vital role in the production of cloth in Sierra Leone. In that regard, most of the waste from the finished products were trashed out causing environmental degradation, especially landfill that has a negative impact of flooding.  As a young female entrepreneur, she developed a strong vision of decreasing landfill waste, bridging skills gaps more especially for girls and creating employment opportunities in sustainable fashion. She aimed to mitigate the problem of environmental degradation by using their textile waste to patch clothes into one-of-a-kind long lasting ones. She has been working assiduously to see every Sierra Leonean have access to sustainable fashion clothes, children’s decorative Arts and household pieces maid from the waste collected from her shop. 

The judges asked what she was offering that is different from her competitor? In her response, she is offering a kids collection. Her finishing torches are not like the regular patch work.  Another Judge asked about the process of collecting scrap materials? In her response, she told the judges that she collects waste textiles from her own Chocco collection to make different outfits. Another judges suggested that she should create a niche using scrap materials and also think about the kind of patch material because kids have sensitive skin.  A third judge asked how she can incorporate Africa into her work heritage? “I incorporate heritage in my work by sewing patches having the Sierra Leone flag” which depict our unique culture as Sierra Leoneans. The portrait also has an embodiment of our heritage creating a sense of patriotism by uphold and illuminating our neglected culture

The second pitcher Abigail Hawanatu Kamara from Dominion Fashion Wardrobe bags as the CEO and founder, a skilled entrepreneur and a certified seamstress, she has been in this business since 2018. As a certified seamstress, she has used to trash out her waste material causing environmental pollution. Recently, she decided to use her waste materials from her shop to produce bags, dresses and accessories symbolising the afrocentric nature of our culture. In a bid to solve environmental degradation, Dominion Fashion Wardrobe will be engaging in stockpiling of wasted/used materials. Due to the huge market size, they have decided to innovate the pyramid shape to design dresses as well as knitting and finishing style to streamline the fashion industry in Sierra Leone making their products unique and different from their competitors. 

During the Question & Answer session, the judges complimented Abigail Hawanatu Kamara for knowing  her target audience, and what they wanted,  however, they commented on her failure to talk about the composition of her team and the role played by each member.  She was further advised to have an idea of her operative cost as that will help her to have an idea of what the selling cost will be. Finally , she was asked by another Judge the cost of making the bag, to which she responded that it cost her le100 to make the bag and she sells it at a minimum price of  le500. 

The penultimate pitcher, John Sawo Koroma, told the audience that they  are designed to manufacture local Africa design bags, and run short skills training programs.The business has been in operation since the year 2000. They have been in a triangle of quality, comfort and affordable designs mixed with Sierra Leone heritage that are worth both home market and international market depicting our afrocentric nature. As a result of this innovation there are job opportunities especially for young  people by engaging themselves in tailoring work and the network of bag selling. 

According to the panel of judges, the product should have a portrait of your organisation by attaching your business logo onto your products. One of the judges asked how  they reduce waste to which he responded that they collect plastic waste from the street and recycle them into waterproof and attach them to the bags. This will prevent the bags from getting spoiled. 

The final pitcher Salimatu Jagitay,  the CEO of  Bella’s Designs is an experienced and passionate entrepreneur who has been working with a team of three members: Ibrahim Salieu, Jeneba Barrie and Dogoluya Sachi Women’s group-Kabala, pitch on behalf of Bella’s Designs. Bella’s Designs  is an organisation whose aim is to preserve and celebrate our tribal cultural fashion sustainably where applicable. They envisage a change in the way people dress in Sierra Leone making them upholding and consuming more traditional dresses like the Leppi and woven cotton as opposed to Western fashion seamlessly. This will create the passion for both producers and designers to pay heed onto cultural heritage regardless of the complexity in producing them. To remedy the situation, they have been collaborating with local artisans, especially vulnerable women, and designers producing tribal clothes having modern designs that suit customers’ needs. It ushers economic sustainability by creating jobs that yield revenue for sustainable development.

The judges asked Salamatu how she planned to make her products sustainable. Response to the question is that, by promoting schools and the environment.  Another judge commented on the heritage aspect saying that her heritage design is well seen in her products such as the Leppi and the woven clothes. These are what our forefathers were wearing to celebrate their uniqueness as Sierra Leoneans. Therefore, bring it once again to the limelight of this generation is a picture of upholding and emphasising the beauty of our heritage  

ISSUING OF  Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW 2023) WINNERS’ CHEQUE

Mr. Francis Stevens-George was charged with the responsibility of handing over the cheques to the winners of the GEW event. He called on important stakeholders such as Mr. Chucks  from invest SL, Papa Njai from Milton Margai university, Joannes Hotagua and madam Mariama Korama, they issued out the cheques respectively, starting from the junior pitchers to the senior pitchers. For the junior pitchers Regina Kumba Turay of Operation Clean my Community  who emerged as the winner, won $1000 as a seed capital while Josephine Quee from Jojo’s Design, clinched the runner-up title having seed capital of  $ 500

For the senior pitchers  N’yillah B. Cawray of  Nyillah’s Design, emerged as the victor having a cheque of $ 2000 and Mariama Mbayoh of  “Kam Rent Ya” bagged the second position having a cheque of $1,500

GUEST SPEAKERS’ REMARK

Oswald Dundas, the winner of the October edition explained that the money that he won has been used  to  transform his Water Light Technology and tackle community issues, especially the carbon footprint.  His vision is converting trash into valuable resources, fostering a cleaner environment, and simultaneously generating employment opportunities. Additionally, he has made a remarkable breakthrough in renewable energy, which he affectionately calls “Crazy.” This innovation aims to supply clean and affordable electricity to communities, thereby reducing their carbon footprints. By addressing the challenges of limited access to reliable and affordable electricity and improving waste recycling, Oswald Dundas introduces the Water Light Technology V1 Battery and Water Light Technology V2 Battery, Which work by ionising an electrolyte made up of saltwater. This transforms the magnesium on the inside into electrical energy.

Mohamed Kamara from ‘Freetown Innovative Hub’ a place where conceived business ideas are made feasible, who is the co-founder explained how the hub has trained and established some business ideas. He maintained that  they are in the business of  recycling used tyres into house furniture such as: chair, table and christmas tree made out of tyres. The Hub also focuses on waste management by the recycling of tyres to minimise the potential health risk of Sierra Leoneans, the brand is committed to creating awareness about climate changes and its impact. He demonstrated a snippet of his work that depicted his successes. He applauded  Innovation SL as a major player that is also nurturing young people who are impregnated with potential business ideas.

Conclusion 

Conclusively, certificates were presented to all the pitchers respectively, starting from the rear. The judges unanimously declared Salamatu Jagitay, from Bella’s Designs as the winner of the 2023 Freetown Pitch Night. The programmes manager of Mercury Radio, Mr. Alexander Thullah presented the cheque of 72,000 new Leones as seed capital to the winner. A cheque of 48,000 new leones was presented to John Sawo Koroma, of CraftyBee as a seed capital. The event concluded with an atmosphere of exhilaration.

Pamella Haruna
SUSTAINABLE FASHION PITCH EVENT

DATE: 13 DECEMBER, 2023

VENUE: Limkokwing University, Hill Station

THEME: Sustainable Fashion & Heritage

The monthly Freetown Pitch Night event is dedicated to celebrating and promoting groundbreaking ideas. This month’s pitch night was hosted at the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Hill Station, Freetown, on December 13th 2023, bearing the theme: SUSTAINABLE FASHION & HERITAGE. 

Innovation SL is an entrepreneurship support-led organisation that is geared towards nurturing the entrepreneurial ecosystem to accelerate growth, disruptive and value creating start-ups by creating a robust and efficient ecosystem that sow viable seeds for Sierra Leone innovators and business.


The event was hosted by Fatmata Turay, a staff at Innovation SL who started the event by welcoming the audience to the last pitch night event of the year. The event initiated with a hearty welcome oration delivered by Mr. Francis Stevens George, MD/CEO of Innovation SL, who created a sense of purpose. He highlighted to the audience that “for entrepreneurs to work there should be a need for a pipeline where old and new ideas can thrive in an entrepreneurial ecosystem.” He further applauded Mr. Martin Michael, the MD of Mercury international, for making a ‘conscious decision’ to collaborate with Innovation SL through Freetown Pitch Night providing seed capital of $25,000.  He expressed his appreciation to the entire Innovation team for their dedication in making things feasible.


The Public Relation Practitioner of Mercury International, Mr. Caulker explained that since 2017 Mercury International has been engaging in corporate social responsibility. He further stated that 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.

 

The host, madam Fatmata Turay ushered the panel of judges to introduce themselves. The judges consisted of predominantly women, namely: Isatu Harrison (CEO Izelia Fashion World & Creative Hub Africa), Kadiatu Kamara (CEO Vivid Emporium), Beresford Bournes-Coker (Chief Operation Officer, Mercury International) and Joyce Abigail Coulson-Olowu, Lecture IPAM).

At this point, pitchers were reminded of the rules, designated five minutes each to pitch their business ideas and two minutes allocated to both judges and pitchers to ask questions and to respond to questions being asked.


FPN PITCH COMPETITION


The first pitcher for the night, Memunatu Bah from Chocco Collection is a young dynamic content creator and innovative female entrepreneur who has a strong passion for fashion design.  As a young female entrepreneur, she has a vision of decreasing landfill waste, bridging skills gaps more especially for girls and creating employment opportunities in sustainable fashion. In the evolving world of clothing, she has been working assiduously to see every Sierra Leonean have access to sustainable fashion clothes, children’s decorative Arts and household pieces. 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 judges asked what is she offering that is different from her competitor? In her response, she is offering a kids collection. Another Judge asked about the process of collecting scrap materials? Another judges suggested that she should create a niche using scrap materials and also think about the kind of patch material because kids have sensitive skin

The judges asked how she can incorporate Africa into her work heritage? “I incorporate heritage in my work by sewing patches having the Sierra Leone flag”.


The second pitcher Abigail Hawanatu Kamara from “Dominion Fashion Wardrobe” bags as the CEO and founder, a skilled entrepreneur and a certified seamstress. Relatively, she has been in this business since 2018, seeing a society that can remould wasted fabric into attractive dresses and accessories depicting the Africa heritage. In a bid to solve environmental degradation, Dominion Fashion Wardrobe will be engaging in stockpiling of wasted/used materials. Due to the huge market size, they have decided to innovate the pyramid shape to design dresses as well as knitting and finishing style to streamline the fashion industry in Sierra Leone. Economically, the business is viable as it has been providing jobs for young people. Further, it has helped positively in the reduction of environmental waste that is hazardous to health.

During the Question and Answer session the judges complimented Abigail Hawanatu Kamara for her target audience however, commented on her failure to talk about her team.  She was further advised to have an idea of her operative cost. Another Judge asked the cost of the bag, to which she responded that it cost her le100 to make the bag and she sells it at le500. 


The penultimate pitcher, John Sawo Koroma, CEO of Crafty Bee Fashion World. The CraftyBee Fashion World is a team that is designed to manufacture local Africa design bags, and run short skills training programs.The business has been in operation since the year 2000. They have been in a triangle of quality, comfort and affordable designs mixed with Sierra Leone heritage that are worth both home market and international market depicting our afrocentric nature. This initiative has helped to curb the problem of illegal migration as a result of unemployment and the neglect of our cultural heritage. As a result of this innovation there are job opportunities especially for young  people. 

According to the panel of judges, the product should have a portrait of your organisation by attaching your business logo onto your products. One of the judges asked how do they reduce waste? He responded that they collect plastic waste from the street and recycle them into waterproof and attach them to the bags. This will prevent the bags from getting spoiled. 


The final pitcher Salimatu Jagitay, from Bella’s Designs is an experienced and passionate entrepreneur who has been working with a team of three members: Ibrahim Salieu, Jeneba Barrie and Dogoluya Sachi Women’s group-Kabala, pitch on behalf of Bella’s Designs. Bella’s Designs  is an organisation whose aim is to preserve and celebrate our tribal cultural fashion sustainably where applicable. They envisage a change in the way people dress in Sierra Leone making them upholding and consuming more traditional dressing as opposed to Western fashion seamlessly. This will create the passion for both producers and designers to pay heed onto cultural heritage regardless of the complexity in producing them. To remedy the situation, they have been collaborating with local artisans, especially vulnerable women, and designers producing tribal clothes having modern designs that suit customers’ needs. It ushers economic sustainability by creating jobs that yield revenue for sustainable development.

The judges asked Salimatu how she planned to make her products sustainable. Response to the question is that, by promoting schools and the environment.  Another judge commented on the heritage aspect.


ISSUING OF GEW WINNERS’ CHEQUE

Mr. Francis Stevens-George was charged with the responsibility of handing over the cheques to the winners of the GEW event. He called on important stakeholders who issued out the cheques respectively, starting from the junior pitchers to the senior pitchers.


GUEST SPEAKERS’ REMARK

Oswald Dundas, the winner of the November edition explained that the money that he won has been used  to  transform his Water Light Technology and tackle community issues, especially the carbon footprint.  His vision is converting trash into valuable resources, fostering a cleaner environment, and simultaneously generating employment opportunities. Additionally, he has made a remarkable breakthrough in renewable energy, which he affectionately calls “Crazy.” This innovation aims to supply clean and affordable electricity to communities, thereby reducing their carbon footprints. By addressing the challenges of limited access to reliable and affordable electricity and improving waste recycling, Oswald Dundas introduces the Water Light Technology V1 Battery and Water Light Technology V2 Battery, Which work by ionising an electrolyte made up of saltwater. This transforms the magnesium on the inside into electrical energy.

Mohamed Kamara from ‘Freetown Innovative Hub’ a place where conceived business ideas are made feasible, who is the co-founder explained how the hub has trained and established some business ideas. He maintained that  they are in the business of  recycling used tyres into house furniture such as: chair, table and christmas tree made out of tyres. The Hub also focuses on waste management by the recycling of tyres to minimise the potential health risk of Sierra Leoneans, the brand is committed to creating awareness about climate changes and its impact. He demonstrated a snippet of his work that depicted his successes. He applauded  Innovation SL as a major player that is also nurturing young people who are impregnated with potential business ideas

Conclusion 

Conclusively, certificates were presented to all the pitchers respectively, starting from the rear. The judges unanimously declared Salimatu Jagitay, from Bella’s Designs as the winner of the 2023 Freetown Pitch Night. The programmes manager of Mercury Radio, Mr. Alexander Thullah presented the cheque of 72,000 new Leones as seed capital to the winner and the event concluded with an atmosphere of exhilaration. 

Pamella Haruna
Dare2Aspire Pitch Event 2023

Report: Innovation SL’s Dare2Aspire – Women in Entrepreneurship Event

Introduction:

Every year in November, Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is dedicated to entrepreneurs and innovators all around the world. The event aims to bring together entrepreneurs globally to inspire and educate them by bringing in key experts, organizations, individuals, and communities to promote entrepreneurship and innovation by providing a platform to foster collaborations, share knowledge, and support aspiring and established entrepreneurs in their journey. The Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) empowers nascent entrepreneurs and those who face systemic barriers to starting and scaling their own companies.

 Innovation SL, an entrepreneurship support organization, plays a key role as the national host for Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) in Sierra Leone every year. We celebrate entrepreneurs and support SMEs and startups by creating an enabling environment through Global Entrepreneurship Week by organizing panel sessions, and pitch events to support budding entrepreneurs with seed funds, networking, partnership, and mentorship.

In collaboration with the Bank Complex Hall Kingtom, Innovation SL organized a transformative event on Day 3 of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2023 – Dare2Aspire: Women in Entrepreneurship. The Bank Complex Hall in Kingtom, Freetown, served as the backdrop for a day dedicated to unlocking the potential of female entrepreneurs.

 

Event Overview: 

 

Dare2Aspire is a dedicated women entrepreneurship event and a pitch night that focuses on the importance of women’s potential to contribute to developing the country’s economy. The event is a multifaceted event set aside for female entrepreneurs during the Global Entrepreneurship Week, offering engaging sessions aimed at empowering and fostering the development of women in entrepreneurship. The Dare2Aspire is Innovation SL flagship program 

 

Exhibition:

 

A diverse array of female entrepreneurs captivated a broad audience with a showcase of their products and services, fostering a collaborative atmosphere and providing a platform for networking through the Dare2Aspire event during GEW as a way of promoting and encouraging female entrepreneurs in Sierra Leone.

Financial Inclusion Session:

JIT Capital led a comprehensive 1hr 30min session, delving into financial management, microfinance opportunities, and alternative funding sources. The goal was to equip attendees with essential financial knowledge crucial for their entrepreneurial journeys.

MD’s Address:

Mr. Francis Stevens George, the Managing Director of Innovation SL and Global Entrepreneurship Network, set the stage with a keynote address emphasizing the pivotal role of entrepreneurship in empowering women. His insights laid the foundation for an event  focused on unlocking the potential of female entrepreneurs.

Panel Discussion – “How to Monetize Your Passion”:

The panel discussion featured successful women who have turned their passions into profitable businesses by sharing their insights and experiences with the audience. The panel was moderated by Yasmin Metz Johnson, the creator of Yasmin Tells, the founder of Tells Trips and Studio Femi, and the director at Mama Lu’s Kitchen. The panelists were Madam Iron-Sky Turay, owner and CEO of Orkusu Organic Herbal Teas, and owner and director of Reunion Freetown. Madam Miatta Marke, co-owner and head chef at Cole Street Restaurant; Mrs. Hawa Turay, Sierra Leone’s first representative to Ms. Universe, CEO of Hawawa Model Management and CEO of Hawawa Boutique; and Madam Latoya Garber, the CEO of Toya’s Creation, CEO and owner of Leone Luxe, and CEO of Luxe assist SL.

Each panelist shared personal stories of turning passion into successful businesses, offering valuable insights into the entrepreneurial journey. The discussion empowered the audience with practical tips, emphasizing the importance of authenticity and perseverance in business. The audience actively engaged with the panel, asking questions and seeking advice, creating a dynamic and inclusive atmosphere.

 

Dare2Aspire Pitch Competition:

 

Eight junior and female entrepreneurs participated in a pitch competition, vying for seed capital provided by Mercury International SL. Winners were announced across two categories:

Senior Category:

Winner: N’yillah Elizabeth Cawray – $2000 for her carpentry business, N’yillah’s Design.

Second Winner: Mariama Mbayoh – $2000 for her real estate locator application.

 

Junior Category:

Winner: Regina Turay – $1000 for “Operation Clean My Community.”

Second Winner: Josephine Quee – $500 for her idea, Jojo’s Design.

 

Closing and Networking:

The event concluded with encouraging words from the judges, fostering a sense of accomplishment among all participants. A networking session provided opportunities for collaboration and partnerships with attending investors.

Guest Speaker’s Insight:

Madam Phebeans Swill, the esteemed guest speaker, delivered insightful statements before the announcement of the results. Her encouraging words resonated with the audience, urging them to persevere and push boundaries in their entrepreneurial endeavors.

Bank of Sierra Leone’s Statement:

The Director of the Bank of Sierra Leone expressed satisfaction with the flourishing entrepreneurial spirit in the country particularly the work of Innovation SL. He commended Dare2Aspire for its inspirational impact on female entrepreneurs. Mr. Sesay highlighted the Global Entrepreneurship Week as a means of supporting the Bank’s mandate through the “Financial Inclusion” portfolio, aiming to provide financial aid. Referring to World Bank reports from 2013, 2014, and 2021, he noted Sierra Leone’s rankings (17%, 20%, and 21%)—indicating a need to address women’s underrepresentation in financial inclusion. BSL data underscores that women in rural communities face significant challenges in the financial sector. Recognizing the need for collaboration, the Bank of Sierra Leone is partnering with Innovation SL, particularly through events like Dare2Aspire during Global Entrepreneurship Week.

 

Conclusion:

Dare2Aspire emerges as a catalyst for empowerment and collaboration in Sierra Leone’s entrepreneurial landscape. Beyond financial rewards, the event’s success lies in the connections made and inspiration shared among participants.

This report encapsulates the achievements of Dare2Aspire and its ongoing contribution to fostering a dynamic and inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem in Sierra Leone.

Pamella Haruna
Open Idea Pitch Night 2023

EVENT REPORT: Freetown Pitch Night 2023 (FPN)

DATE: September 11, 2023

VENUE: Limkokwing University, Hill Station

THEME: Open Idea

The Freetown Pitch Night Week is hosted by Innovation SL at the Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, Hill Station, Freetown, on the 11th September 2023. Innovation SL is an entrepreneurship support led organisation which pivotal aim is to nurture the entrepreneurial ecosystem with high growth, disruptive and value creating start-ups by creating an effective and efficient ecosystem that would be viable for Sierra Leone innovators and business

The event commenced with a warm welcome speech delivered by our esteemed MD/CEO, Mr. Francis Stevens George, who set the stage for an exciting evening of innovation and creativity.

The managing director of Mercury International, Mr. Martin Michael explained that 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.

FPN PITCH COMPETITION

Following the inaugural oration, Ms. Lamarahna Bah, one of our Communications Lead, who also was the host for the night, honoured the panel of judges to introduce themselves. The judges included: Ajara Marie Bomah, Herman Chinery-Hesse, John Wearing and Papa Njai each are experts who are endowed with a wealth of experience. The pitchers were designated to utilise five minutes each to present their concepts, which ranged from ground-breaking innovations to revolutionise social initiatives followed by a three-minute Q&A session for addressing potential questions or contributions from the judges.

The 7 pitchers are as follows: Arnold Caulker, Shanu Vandi, Victor Ikoh, Andrew Dosumu, Alfred A. Kamara, Abdul Majid Bah and Oswald Dundas.

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 which has a vision to change the way people secure tickets to witness events by creating a simple and secured ticketing platform that would have a seamless access to the entertainment industry. The ticket is built with a temper-proof feature to inform if anything has been altered. It exerts economic sustainability by creating jobs that would generate revenue and promote sustainable practices.

The judges asked the pitcher what they will be doing at the gate; and the pitcher answered that they will be scanning the ticket before entering. Another Judge asked the pitcher how they will stop the man at the gate from allowing his relative from entering? Another judges commented that it would be difficult to prevent such to occur

The judges wanted what is/are the feature of the tamper code. Mr Vandi replied that it does have serial code that can be scanned once.

The second pitcher for the night was Abdul Majid Bah from Eco-waste.’ Abdul Majid 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 lack of knowledge in arable land that is suitable for different kinds of crops planted across Sierra Leone. Eco-waste is an organisation that prides itself in providing an eco-friendly environment to farmers and help them understand the type of soil that is deemed fit to cultivate on.  …… device would significantly aid farmers to understand the moisture and nutritional content of the soil that they are using and the kind of crop to be cultivated.

The judges asked the pitcher what the cost of the product was and the pitcher answered that the product can be purchased for $110. Another judge asked how the farmers can use the product considering the literacy rate of farmers. Mr Abdul Majid replied that they will try training the farmers to use the product. Another judge asked the pitcher what will happen when the temperature is extreme. The pitcher assured them that the produce does has a regulatory system for it effective functioning

The third pitcher Victor Ikoh who happened to be the CEO and founder of ‘The Company’ intends to solve Environmental pollution caused by waste cooking oil through the conversion of waste cooking oil to soaps and Detergents. 

Following the session, the judges provided Victor with some valuable advice. They recommended that he establish partnerships once he has registered his business. Additionally, they advised him to conduct product testing on the soap to identify any potential side effects. Moreover, they suggested that Victor strive to reduce the utilisation of waste materials by 70% by exploring options for outsourcing customised oils to be used as raw materials in his production process.

The forth 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 ( which is their business idea) is a virtual environment designed to reduce the massive use of markers, foster interactive and effective learning environments in an efficient manner. As a result of this innovation there are job opportunities especially for young  people. 

According to the panel of judges, the product should be a Sierra Leone eccentric one. That is the raw material should derive from Sierra Leone unto the finished product.

The fifth pitcher Arnold Caulker of Arnold’s Renewable Energy is a talented innovator with eight (8) years of experience in solar installation. As an electrical installer, he has made a tremendous impact in green energy by creating the low frequency inverter generator to produce constant and clean electricity. It encompassed an auto renewable charging porter suitable for both wind turbine and solar panels, and a thunder-strike protector. These features of low frequency inverter generators help to mitigate global warming. 

In his pitch, he stated that, according to the World Bank report in 2021, 27.49% of Sierra Leoneans are without electricity supply. This has led to the increase in the use of gasoline generators that 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.

from the judges’ panel a concern was raised regarding  safety measures. Mr. Caulker responded that it has an inbuilt safety component that can protect from high voltage and even thunder strikes, and the charging can last for 20 hrs 

Judges asked about the cost of the product, in response, the price is being determined by the amount of voltage. For instance, 500wt goes for $70 while 1000 wt goes for $140.

Oswald Dundas, the final pitcher, aspires to transform waste recycling and tackle community issues. He has a vision of converting trash into valuable resources, fostering a cleaner environment, and simultaneously generating employment opportunities. Additionally, he has made a remarkable breakthrough in renewable energy, which he affectionately calls “Crazy.” This innovation aims to supply clean and affordable electricity to communities, thereby reducing their carbon footprints. By addressing the challenges of limited access to reliable and affordable electricity and improving waste recycling, Oswald Dundas introduces the Water Light Technology V1 Battery and Water Light Technology V2 Battery, Which work by ionising an electrolyte made up of saltwater. This transforms the magnesium on the inside into electrical energy.

The judges probed the pitcher on the durability of the kinetic energy, bulb warranty, and the cost of his innovation. The pioneer answered that the kinetic energy can last for 120 hrs, and the bulb warranty is 1 yr and can be sold at $11.

Furthermore, he was asked how poultry farmers could benefit from his groundbreaking idea. He answered that the kinetic energy produced from the battery can power up their incubators. 

Additionally, Oswald was advised by the panel of judges to search for possible ways wherein wasted water can be utilised. 

Guest speakers’ remarks

Emily Kumba Fanday from ‘The community’ a peer-to-peer lending platform, who is the CEO and founder explained how the $5000 they won has helped their lending platform to create an avenue for individuals and institutions to lend directly to borrowers in both formal and informal businesses. She explained that the community project was launched in 2022 having a population of 70 people; 30 female and 40 men. She maintained that the community project is an alternative financial  marketplace where micro and small businesses can access quick and easy short-term loans with no collateral or credit history.She added that the grant has helped to increase their operational cost and also they have rented an office space. 

Franklyn Momoh, the CEO of BeenFrantk Ltd., who is passionate about creating unique clothing from old, oversized thrift garments. The desire to make unique and sustainable clothing made him start BeenFrank. BeenFrank is a company that has been offering Sierra Leoneans distinctive and sustainable clothing options that resonate with their values and help mitigate climate issuesHe demonstrated a clip that depicts his successes on the grant received. Franklyn Momoh, passionately expressed his appreciation to Mercury International and Innovation SL. He encouraged Innovation SL to be organising training for young people. The brand is committed to creating awareness about climate change. Through the money they won, they were able to expand the distribution of their products. 

Judges Feedbacks/comments

In her concluding courtesy, madam Ajara Marie Bomah encouraged pitchers to employ a captive motion to create a sense of appeal to their audience when they are pitching out their innovative ideas, they should also be considerate about time when once they have occupied the podium. She added that when presenting their idea they should not elaborate on the aspect of their financial traction as it will make it more complex for them. She advised that it should   be a snippet one in order to avoid complexity

further, she maintained that the pitchers should learn on how to brand their innovation in order to attract investors and consumers. Finally, pitchers should know their direct competitors as it will help them to know the strength and weakness of their competitors as well as their targeted audiences.

Conclusively, certificates were presented to all the pitchers respectively, starting from the rear. The judges unanimously declared Oswald Dundas as the winner of the 2023 Freetown Pitch Night. The MD of Mercury International, Mr. Martin Michaels presented the cheque of $5000 with an equivalent of 110,000 million in Leones as seed capital to the winner and the event concluded with an atmosphere of excitement.    

Pamella Haruna
Exponential Tech., Digital/Industrial Disruptor, Fintech 2023

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.

Pamella Haruna