General Report- Freetown Pitch Night-June 6th 2018-Social Entrepreneurship

The theme for June 6th’s pitch night was “Social Entrepreneurship”. With many social, cultural and environmental issues affecting Sierra Leone, this month’s night was about solving some of these pressing issues, through 4 inspiring social entrepreneurs; Sheku Kamara of Briquette Making Enterprise, Noellen Barber of Nianda Agriculture and Trading Company, Mohamed El Tayyib-Bah of Trees4Prosperity and Nigel Hyde of Home Leone.

The cosy and interactive audience made up of 50+ attendees included the GEN SL team, sponsors of Freetown Pitch Night, the guest speaker, executives of companies and organisations, young professionals and students.

Guest speaker Dr. Derrin Smith, Counsellor for Commercial & Economic Affairs, US Embassy, Freetown, spoke about the Economic and Commercial Section of the US Embassy, it’s activities and the US’s transition from AID to Private investment in Sierra Leone.

What a better way is there to share ideas, contacts, information and resources with so many interesting people, than with food and drinks? The Freetown Pitch Night gives its audience such an opportunity to network at the end of the event, so most attendees were reluctant to leave early.

The four (4) pitches were as follows:

Briquette Making Enterprise

Sheku’s Briquettes is an environmentally friendly and cost-effective solution to deforestation and indiscriminate disposal of waste in Sierra Leone. Located in Makeni, the Briquette Making Enterprise has made good progress since it started operations in 2013:

  • Acquiring a machine in 2014
  • Acquiring a tricycle in 2016
  • Starting door to door sales in 2017
  • Registering and opening an account in 2017
  • Sales increase from 400 briquettes in 2013 to 20,000 briquettes in 2018

Sheku Kamara

shekambriquettes2013@gmail.com

+232 88 304 551

+232 79 704 641

 

Nianda Agriculture and Trading Company

With $15m worth of onions imported into Sierra Leone annually Nianda Seeds, a major promoter of onions in Sierra Leone, sees an opportunity to support and train vegetable farmers (especially women and young people) to improve yield and increase income. Nianda Seeds uses market principles and forces to meet poverty alleviation, the first goal of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The company operates as the sole distributor of hybrid vegetable seeds and seedlings to smallholder farmers and businesses countywide and has introduced onion farming in Kailahun, Kenema and Moyamba.

Noellen Barber

an228@yahoo.com

+232 76 743 055

+232 88 686 488

 

Trees4Prosperity

Deforestation → Drought → Concrete jungle → Environmental degradation are environmental issues Trees4Prosperity wants to solve by the nursing of millions of trees. These trees include acacia, neem, tectona and moringa, with 80,000 seeds nursed at the Kent site so far. Neem and moringa, with their unique properties, would not only make the city greener but also add aesthetic value. Trees4Prosperity’s solution also has a youth and community employment component to it.

Mohamed El Tayyib-Bah

www.trees4prosperitysl.org

+232 79 515 007

 

Home Leone

After years of research of slums in Freetown, Home Leone developed a solution to relocate 2000 people from these slums to the pilot “Destiny Village’ (25 acres near 4 Mile, Newton). The relocation has six (6) pillars:

  • Housing – 350 x 2 or 3 bedrooms
  • Businesses = Sustainability
  • Education & Schooling
  • Healthcare
  • Power
  • Water & Sanitation

Home Leone is an enabling social enterprise, a movement and builder of homes and infrastructure.

Nigel Hyde

nigel.hyde@homeleone.org

+232 80 740 333

+44 7 961 576 769

Report Written by Davephine Tholley

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Report: Freetown Pitch Night- April 11th 2018

The theme for the April 11thh  Freetown Pitch Night was “Digital Disruptors ”.

“You cannot disrupt what does not exist.”

O what a night, mid April back in 2018! Freetown Pitch Night was awesome last night. The Keynote Speaker, Kwame Luke made an amazing speech. Only a corpse could not get inspired. He left a lot for us to think of in a most uplifting way. Not taking away from the pitchers that had excellent ideas.

Lets go through the Pitchers:

1) Moinina of Thinklight pitch an idea for a “Robot Riot Police Officer”.

2) Andrew of Science Resource pitched a “Wind Turbine” idea.

3) Adepoju of Medal Technology & Software pitched “An Artificial Intelligence Personal Assistant” with multiple features.

4) Anika of Aptec Africa pitched her company that is a Renewable Energy Firm.

Thinklight & Science Resource were in ideating stage. They are fabricators in their own right and have previously produced other prototypes in the past like Solar powered tricycles, toy helicopters and speaking robots.

Adepoju delighted us with his pitch. His idea could be best described as somewhere in the middle of ideating and concepting. My description of “An Artificial Intelligence Personal Assistant” may also be limiting. There are a plethora of uses that his idea could possibly be used for.

Anika presented the full length and breadth of the services and products offered by Aptec Africa in Sierra Leone.

The keynote speaker, Sir Kwame Luke, I salute you Sir. “You cannot disrupt what does not exist.” Can births and deaths allow me to name my next child that way?

Honestly though, apart from that message Kwame Luke took the crowd through an entrepreneurial journey on disruption. Guiding us with practical examples that where very relevant to us here in Sierra Leone. Vivid examples that included some of his personal experiences. Summarizing the crucial other lessons he inspired us to overcome were:

  1. You can be too early
  2. Learning when to pivot
  3. How and when to scale
  4. How to aggregate
  5. Do not think or operate in Silos

I felt guilty giving him signals that he had exceeded his speech by a few minutes, I am rather glad that he overlooked my signals. His energy and his passion was not only just coming out of him but it also seemed to transfer unto everyone else.  The delivery was original and authentic as Kwame Luke had been a Digital Product Consultant for 20 years. I am really glad to have heard him share his knowledge and expertise with us.

O Yes, back to “You cannot disrupt what does not exist.” That message was another way of explaining the usual adage of how one should understand the market that we wish to exploit. However, he went on further to explain that there may not be systems to support the actual business model that one plans for. You end up needing to put in place other systems to actually support your business model. These other systems (he gave an example of problems with our postal delivery) are actually opportunities!

The next Pitch Night is on May 16th 2018!

Report Written by Salia Fawundu Jnr.

We wish to thank our main sponsor- Mützig; our partners, Cordaid, Sensi Tech Hub, Innovation S and Insight Media.

PDF Version: Report_April_digitalDisruptors

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February 7th  Freetown Pitch Night-Catalyst for Growth- BDS

 

The theme for the February 7th  Freetown Pitch Night was “Catalyst for Growth- BDS ”.

SME businesses have clearly grown in the last decade in West Africa and in Sierra Leone. Their development has often required external inputs from key government initiatives or NGO programs or other non-profits.

Increasingly there has a paradigm shift in private companies filling that gap with specific services for SMEs As the SME market is getting much more clearly defined by size, business cycle, sector, ICT capacity, etc…

From feasibility studies to development of business plans, business support services help prospective and existing businesses streamline their process and promote a far more efficient turnaround of their investments and function as a catalyst to their growth and success.

Within Sierra Leone there are nonetheless challenges in providing BDS services, from low data availability and costs of getting actionable data, to enabling environment of trust and the web entanglement of compliance and regulation for many opaque facets of business; we nonetheless have four businesses today that are taking up those challenges with their investment in BDS businesses.

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Report: Freetown Pitch Night- December 6th 2017

The theme for the December 6th  Freetown Pitch Night was “Design for Development ”.

For the very first time, the Freetown Pitch Night had 5 students to pitch their business ideas. The students were from Limkokwing University of Creative Technology. All five will be graduating in 2019. Four of the students were from the faculty of Architecture and Design and one from the Faculty of Communication Media and Broadcasting.

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Report: Freetown Pitch Night- October 4th 2017.

The theme for the October 4th Freetown Pitch Night was “Made in Sierra Leone-Local Building Constructions Materials ”.

According to UNIDO by 2050, two-thirds of the global population will live in cities. This will put serious pressure on developing countries like Sierra Leone where local construction infrastructure is at an early stage.

The use of local materials for the construction industry has wide ranging economic implications for Sierra Leone. It also speaks to the “circular economy”.

In developing countries, such as Sierra Leone, conventional building materials are tied to international market forces which often render housing unaffordable to low-income groups and marginalized populations.

Furthermore, these imported materials are often climatically inappropriate especially in tropical  regions. The continued use of much imported conventional building materials do not provide climatically and socially viable and affordable housing and can hinder sustainable growth in the local construction industry for the majority of the population.

At the Freetown Pitch Night we met three innovators that are creating building materials and designing landscapes using local raw materials. These   local entrepreneurs are providing solutions for sustainable construction with their designs, ideas & investments.

Our Guest Speaker was Mrs. Lavern Fatmata Buya-Kamara, General Manager of the Sierra Leone Housing Corporation- SALHOC. More will follow in this report.

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Report: Freetown Pitch Night- September 6th 2017

The theme for the September 6th Freetown Pitch Night was “Disrupting Finance: Fintech”.

FinTech stands for Financial Technologies,: technologies used and applied in the financial services sector. FinTech is coming to represent technologies that are disrupting traditional financial services, including mobile payments, money transfers, loans, fundraising, and asset management.

“The sad fact is many of Africa’s citizens still lack access to basic financial services, with traditional financial service providers being unable to reach the most needy on the continent. The heavy work to connect these unbanked populations is being done by the continent’s fintech innovators, meaning the space is of crucial importance and impact”.

According to Tom Jackson, Disrupt Africa’s co-founder, fintech appeals to investors because it checks two boxes. “Investing in fintech start-ups offers investors serious potential returns, given the size of the untapped markets these companies can reach,” he explains. “There is also a strong impact angle in that new forms of financial service provision have the ability to empower and connect unserved Africans.”

At the Freetown Pitch Night, we met four innovators in the Fintech Space. Three were start-ups and the fourth, an association, The Sierra Leone Fintech Association.

These innovators, just like their counterparts across the African continent are developing products and services to connect the unbanked; to help small business grow and manage their finances, and reduce costs of financial transactions.

The bigger picture is that these innovators are also leveraging the huge potential benefits for all businesses in Sierra Leone, especially the new breed of entrepreneurs and exciting small businesses. These new breed of entrepreneurs and exciting small businesses are crucial for economic growth and jobs in Sierra Leone, but often face difficulty to access financial services they need to survive and prosper.

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Freetown Pitch Night- August 2nd 2017

The theme for the August month Freetown Pitch Night was “The Circular Economy: Waste to Wealth”.

A circular economy addresses mounting resource-related challenges for business and economies, and could generate growth, create jobs, and reduce environmental impacts, including carbon emissions.

The circular economy’s potential for innovation, job creation and economic development is huge: estimates indicate a trillion-dollar opportunity.

In Sierra Leone, we have an opportunity to create new businesses and jobs through recycling, waste management and collaborative consumption.

At the Freetown Pitch Night, we met three pioneers that are leading the creation of exciting and innovative businesses within converting waste to household products and building material and converting waste to energy.

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