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
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
Orange Social Venture Prize 2023 (OSVP)

THEME: Fostering Innovation for Sustainable Development and Gender Equality

 

INTRODUCTION:

The Orange Social Venture Prize Sierra Leone (OSVP) 2023, an annual flagship event of the Orange Telecommunication Company,  took place on August 4, 2023, at Limkokwing University, Hill Station. This event marked the 5th edition of OSVP in Sierra Leone and the 13th edition of Orange Middle East Africa. OSVP Sierra Leone is part of Orange’s innovation strategy and its corporate social responsibility policy, organised in partnership with Innovation SL through the Freetown Pitch Night. The Orange Social Venture Prize in Africa and the Middle East aims to promote Social Innovation for development by gratifying the best technological projects with a positive impact in Africa and the Middle East. Open to businesses under three years old, the competition focused on technological solutions in fields like healthcare, education, agriculture, mobile payments, and sustainable development. Women’s empowerment and gender equality were key themes. Dignitaries including the Minister of Technical and Higher Education, highlighted the transformative potential of technology in societal advancement. Innovation SL’s C.E.O., Mr. Francis Stevens George effectively highlighted the OSVP’s journey of growth, its role in fostering innovation, and its catalytic effect on business expansion. Orange Sierra Leone’s CEO reinforced the corporation’s commitment to nurturing young entrepreneurs, exemplified through initiatives such as the Orange Digital Centers and the Women Centre.

 

PROGRAMME HIGHLIGHT

The event commenced with individual prayers, respecting the diverse audience’s backgrounds. With a sense of anticipation and excitement, the hosts Mr Alimamy, graciously welcomed an esteemed lineup of attendees to the event. Among the honoured guests were the Ministers, Deputy Ministers, who represented the government’s engagement, and the European Union Ambassador to Sierra Leone, symbolising international collaboration. Notably, recognition was extended to the dedicated partners, particularly Innovation SL, who played a pivotal role in making the event a reality. The gathering also included the esteemed panel of judges, the innovative pitchers showcasing their groundbreaking ideas, the Orange Director, and members of the Orange mobile company staff.

Setting the stage for a dynamic competition, the hosts announced the much-anticipated prizes for the winners. Emphasising the event’s commitment to acknowledging and encouraging excellence, it was revealed that this year’s Orange Social Venture Prize national competition winner for the Grand Prize would be honoured with a substantial NLe 100,000 award. Reflecting the event’s dedication to fostering gender equality and empowering women, the announcement continued with the declaration that the women’s category (Tech Queen) winner would proudly receive a noteworthy NLe 50,000 prize. This announcement not only heightened the stakes but also underscored the event’s broader mission of recognizing and celebrating innovation, entrepreneurship, and inclusivity.

REMARKS AND MESSAGES:

Mr Kamal Omar Sheriff Abass, the Head of Public Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility, inaugurated the event. In his address, he welcomed dignitaries and the audience, emphasising Orange’s commitment to technology-driven projects, startups, and gender equality. He highlighted Orange’s role as a platform for Sierra Leonean startups and its dedication to empowering young female entrepreneurs. The address concluded with a glimpse of previous OSVP winners through a testimonial clip, inspiring the audience with the event’s impact on innovation and entrepreneurship. Mr Abass’ speech set the stage for an event focused on innovation, inclusivity, and the transformative power of technology.

 

Mr Francis Stevens-George, CEO/MD of Innovation SL, provided a comprehensive overview of the Orange Social Venture Prize (OSVP) journey. He highlighted how OSVP, which began as a startup venture in 2018, has grown exponentially and found a firm footing in the product market. As the reigning champion, he emphasised the firsthand understanding of the exhilaration that comes with victory. Mr Stevens-George proudly announced Sierra Leone’s remarkable achievement in 2022, securing the esteemed entrepreneur prize and gaining global recognition. He advocated for a shift in focus from monetary rewards to the broader perspective of nurturing business growth. This pivot has led Orange Telecommunications Company to take on the role of vigilant observers, actively monitoring and supporting the progress of winners. Expressing deep gratitude, Mr Stevens-George commended the relentless efforts of the entire Innovation team, with special recognition for Madam Hassanatu Jalloh. Her unwavering dedication in preparing pitchers, even working through the entirety of a week including Saturday, was noted. The CEO/MD also acknowledged Innovation SL’s pivotal role in cultivating a fertile ground for startups and novel projects to flourish. With optimism resonating, the MD voiced his conviction that Sierra Leone is poised for another triumphant victory, echoing his anticipation of claiming the grand prize once again. His words encapsulated not only the growth of OSVP but also the spirit of innovation, dedication, and the promising future that lies ahead for entrepreneurs in Sierra Leone.

 

Sekou Amadou Bah, CEO of Orange Sierra Leone, highlighted Orange’s instrumental role in fostering young entrepreneurs across Africa, with a distinct focus on Sierra Leone. The company’s commitment aimed at establishing a robust platform for emerging businesses, offering crucial elements such as funding and mentorship. A pivotal milestone was reached in February 2019 with the inauguration of the Orange Digital Centre in Sierra Leone, reflecting their dedication to democratizing digital access. Notably, this centre provided young women with the invaluable opportunity to access education and resources in the digital realm. Over the span of a year, an impressive 1600 individuals were trained, and it was revealed that more than half of them were women. Even more remarkable, 58% of these trained individuals successfully secured employment. Orange’s unwavering support for women’s empowerment was further manifested in the creation of the Women’s Centre in partnership with Nicom in 2021. This initiative aimed at empowering women with fundamental skills in commerce, digital technology, and financial management. Mr. Bah proudly noted that over 126 women have already graduated from this program. Mr. Bah also celebrated the accomplishments of previous years, highlighting the triumph of Osman as the 2022 national contest winner out of 17 countries. Additionally, Joseph Koroma’s groundbreaking achievement as the OSVP international grand prize winner for Sierra Leone underscored the nation’s potential on a global stage. Reaffirming their commitment, Mr. Bah reiterated Orange’s pledge to provide young individuals with ample opportunities to embrace the digital landscape. This stance encapsulates their dedication to nurturing innovation, entrepreneurship, and technological literacy among the youth, ultimately driving progress and transformation

Dr. Haja Ramatulai Wurry, the Minister of Technical and Higher Institutions, provided a comprehensive perspective on the Orange Social Venture Prize (OSVP) initiative. She highlighted its purpose to recognize and reward technological projects creating positive impacts in education, health, agriculture, e-commerce, and inclusively for individuals with disabilities, aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Dr. Wurry emphasised the potential of e-learning to empower learners of all ages and the transformative role of technology in healthcare, agriculture, and entrepreneurship. She stressed the empowerment of women as a common thread across various developmental pillars, framing OSVP as a catalyst for gender equality and broader societal progress.

OSVP PITCHING COMPETITION

After Dr. Haja Ramatulai Wurie’s statement, the pitch session commenced immediately, with participants reminded of the pitch rules: each pitcher had five minutes to present their innovative project, followed by a two-minute window for addressing potential questions or contributions from the judges. The pitch session featured a diverse group of 8 entrepreneurs, each showcasing their innovative projects. Among them, the top 5 grand finalists of OSVP 2023 were contending for a significant prize of NLE 100,000, while the top 3 tech queen finalists were competing for a substantial sum of NLE 50,000.

The top 5 grand finalists presented their visionary ideas. Sia Chakanda pitched the KeneCare Virtual Hospital concept, Isha Abdulai introduced Crescent Salone, Andrew Dosumu showcased the innovative liquid air box, Mariama Mbayoh shared the Kam Rent Ya initiative, and James Samba unveiled the Electric Quadricycle proposal.

In the tech queen category, the top 3 finalists presented their groundbreaking ideas. IyeMary Brimah Sallu pitched Pin-up Healthcare, Hawanatu Sesay highlighted the IOT plant monitoring device, and Jenneh Bockarie Barnett introduced Sierrasister.

A distinguished panel of judges presided over the event, bringing diverse expertise to the evaluation process. This panel included Alfred Akibo-Betts, CEO of Betts Firm; Dr. Kadijatu G.A Kamara, Hon. Deputy Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs; Madam Estelle Van Eeckhout, Brussels Airlines General Manager; Mr. Edward Sesay, Orange Director of Wholesales and Roaming; and Madam Angella Leigh, a Software Engineer & Business Support Expert. Their collective insights ensured a comprehensive and well-informed assessment of the entrepreneurial ventures presented during the pitch session.

The First pitcher for the OSVP 2023 night was Sia Chakanda who serves as the executive director of the IMO Tech Solutions LTD. Her innovative project involves a tele-app platform designed to provide specialised medical care accessible to all Sierra Leoneans. Using secured video conferencing, patients can receive personalised medical attention, treatment plans, and digital prescriptions. Additionally, the platform offers secure storage for medical reports that can be exclusively shared with patients. One judge praised Sia for her idea, noting that it aligns with the event’s goal of providing convenient access to doctors for Sierra Leoneans. Another judge highlighted the potential of IMO Tech Solutions to benefit people in remote areas with digital medical care once the initiative is adopted by its intended audience. A female judge inquired about Sia’s backup plan if she didn’t win the competition. Sia shared her second plan, stating that she and her team would continue working on the project regardless of the competition outcome.

The second presenter, Andrew Dosumu, captivated the audience with his innovative idea called the “Liquid Airbox.” This groundbreaking technology aims to combat the rising issue of air pollution and its detrimental effects on the environment and human health. Andrew’s inspiration stems from the alarming increase in air pollution within the country. He highlighted the alarming statistic provided by the World Health Organization (WHO): 9 out of 10 people worldwide are exposed to polluted air. Shockingly, this dire situation contributes to 7 million deaths globally, surpassing even the combined fatalities caused by HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis. Andrew’s solution, the “Liquid Airbox”, endeavors to tackle this crisis by significantly reducing CO2 emissions and improving air quality. Through his pitch, Andrew underscored the urgent need for innovative solutions to address air pollution and its severe impact on public health and the environment. His project serves as a beacon of hope in the fight against this pressing global challenge. On completion of his pitch, one of the judges noted that the liquid air box is an invention that would mitigate the excess of carbon dioxide emission. However, he noted that some people prefer planting trees to investing in the liquid air box.

Isha Abdulai, the third participant among the top 5 grand finalists, introduced her project called “Crescent Salone.” What drove Isha to launch “Crescent Salone” was her personal experience as a sickle-cell warrior. This prompted her to establish a community-driven initiative that focuses on educating individuals with sickle cell disease. “Crescent Salone’s” mission is multifaceted. It aims to educate sickle cell warriors about effective pain and crisis management strategies, offers practical tips for living with the condition, and extends care packages to both sickle cell warriors and marginalized children. Isha shed light on the alarming prevalence of sickle cell anaemia in Sierra Leone. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), when the prevalence of this condition reaches 40% or higher, it is categorized as a severe public health issue. Sierra Leone falls within this category, highlighting the urgent need to address the challenges posed by sickle cell anaemia. Through “Crescent Salone”, Isha is working to make a positive impact on the lives of sickle cell warriors and marginalised children in Sierra Leone, raising awareness, and providing essential support for those affected by this condition.

One of the judges expressed appreciation for Isha’s concept, which focuses on educating individuals with sickle cell disease. The judge further emphasized the value of considering the establishment of a diagnosis centre to cater to a wider population. Another judge raised a question about the geographical scope of the initiative, asking if it was confined to Freetown. Isha responded by sharing her team’s ambition to expand the initiative’s reach beyond Freetown, indicating a desire to impact a broader region.

 

 

Mariama Mbayoh, the fourth finalist among the top grand finalists, addressed the considerable housing challenges faced by Sierra Leoneans, particularly in finding suitable homes in Freetown. She introduced her innovative project “Kam Rent Ya” as a solution to empower housing solutions in Sierra Leone and initiate much-needed change for individuals and families struggling to secure housing. Recognizing the pressing issue of housing scarcity, high costs, and unreliable information by the agents, Mariama launched “Kam Rent Ya” to leverage technology and entrepreneurship in streamlining the housing search process. The platform serves as a bridge between potential renters and reliable housing options by collecting comprehensive data on available properties and their surroundings. One of the core features of “Kam Rent Ya” is its advanced location scouting and data collection methods, allowing personalized housing options for each user.

Moreover, Mariama emphasised that “Kam Rent Ya” facilitates transparent communication between house owners and renters, enabling effective negotiations and fostering informed decisions. The project is poised to empower individuals by offering them the tools to make well-informed choices in locating their ideal homes. Through innovative technology and an entrepreneurial approach, “Kam Rent Ya” strives to alleviate the challenges associated with housing in Sierra Leone and provide a meaningful solution for both renters and property owners.

After Mariama’s pitch, one of the judges asked her if she was going to identify a specialised agent for the Kam Rent Ya platform since she mentioned that she would be dealing with a specialised agent. He also asked the pitcher how she was going to measure the survey to know whether the clients loved what they saw or not. To address this, the judge advised her to conduct a proper survey to know the people who are in need and house owners. Also to be keen in dealing with agents so as to avoid being fraud.

The Fifth and final pitcher of the top 5 Grand Prize finalists happen to be the winner of the 5th edition of the OSVP competition in Sierra Leone with a sum of  NLE 100,000, James Samba, the co-founder and CEO of Sierra Electric. “Sierra Electric” is his project idea to tackle the high rate of people in Sierra Leone losing their lives because of the pollution caused by the cars they drive. He mentioned that the problem does not only end there, it is also interesting to do that to every petrol or diesel vehicle. According to James, they are contributing towards the worsening climate affecting our environment by causing more people to suffer from illnesses such as cancer and other respiratory diseases and this also affects the country’s economy. But he said the most exciting part is that they have a solution introducing BYKA. BYKA is a 100% electric quadricycle that does not rely on fossil fuel, and it does not use either petrol or diesel for its operation.

BYKA innovation is very safe  for parents who can not afford a vehicle to take their child to school because of all its conventional features of safety. In  a situation where there is no light, it ought to believe that the vehicle can power itself so that it can compete with others in the future.

 

In the “Tech Queen” category, the top 3 finalists began with IyeMary Brimah-Sallu, the founder of the “Pin-Up Healthcare Mobile Application.” IyeMary introduced an innovative concept that aims to connect patients with professional doctors or specialised consultants, ensuring they receive the appropriate care. She highlighted a concerning statistic: out of every 10 hospitals, around 600 patients struggle to identify the right specialised doctors for their specific illnesses.

To address this challenge, “Pin-Up Healthcare Mobile Application” is designed to provide a comprehensive list of specialised doctors who can offer accurate diagnoses for specific diseases. This effort is supported by the Sierra Leone Medical and Dental Association (SLEMDA). Beyond being a mobile application, the project extends its reach to patients without smartphones, offering local short texting and requesting codes as well as a toll-free call system. This multi-faceted approach ensures that individuals of varying technological capabilities can access and benefit from the medical care service.

IyeMary Brimah-Sallu’s “Pin-Up Healthcare Mobile Application” showcases her commitment to bridging the gap between patients and specialised medical expertise, ultimately improving healthcare accessibility and quality for the people of Sierra Leone.

The judges recommended the pitcher for taking such an initiative to build an app and linking patients to specialized doctors. However, she was  advised that there should be proper care  regarding the profit margin as it should be realistic because there is no company in the world that can make 99% of the profit in such a short time.

 

Jenneh Bockarie-Bernett, the second pitcher among the top 3 finalists in the “Tech Queen” category, introduced her project named “Sierra Sisters.” Her innovative concept centres around creating opportunities for single mothers, especially teenage mothers, and widows, through an online platform. “Sierra Sisters” is an organisation that leverages an online application to generate employment for unemployed women who possess domestic skills but lack corporate expertise. The project aims to empower these women by offering well-structured services and providing a platform for them to enhance their skills in a professional manner. Notably, the organisation ensures that the terms and conditions are well-defined, offering legal protection to the women against any form of mistreatment from clients.

Jenneh’s initiative not only provides a means of income for marginalised women but also fosters skill development and empowerment. The platform allows clients to evaluate women’s performance and offer recommendations, thus promoting transparency and accountability. “Sierra Sisters” aligns with the broader objectives of the OSVP competition, showcasing the potential of technology to address societal challenges and create meaningful opportunities for underrepresented groups.

After her pitch, one of the judges advised that it would be nice for her to pay NASSIT and the PAYE for these women to help secure their future and that of their children when they might have retired. She was also encouraged to collaborate with BIKA.

 

Ms. Hawanatu Sesay, the third pitcher and co-founder of the Wi-AgricTech business, emerged as the Tech Queen Winner of the NLE 50,000 prize in the 5th edition of the OSVP competition in Sierra Leone. She addressed the prevailing gender disparity in the technology sector, where males tend to dominate, and her project serves as a bridge to empower more women in the tech world. Hawanatu’s project centres on Wi-AgricTech, a venture dedicated to designing Green and Smart farming technologies to enhance and elevate the quality of food production nationwide. She emphasised the significance of agricultural technologies in boosting crop yields and quality. The project aims to train over 500 farmers by 2025, focusing on cultivating vegetables that amount to produce 1 ton annually.

A pivotal aspect of Hawanatu’s initiative is the implementation of the Internet of Things (IoT) Smart Plant Monitoring device. This device employs cloud-based technology accessible via a smartphone. It is capable of detecting crucial parameters such as soil fertility, plant growth, and moisture levels. Remarkably, the device can autonomously make decisions on watering, light exposure, and nutrient levels, thereby ensuring optimal plant care.

The technology’s robust security measures, efficiency, and reliability contribute to its success in improving agricultural practices. Hawanatu’s Wi-AgricTech business aligns with the overarching mission of the OSVP competition, showcasing the potential of innovative solutions to address real-world challenges and create positive change.

At the end of her pitch, the judges commended the idea of smart agriculture as very timely as the government of Sierra Leone is committed to using technology to boost the production of agriculture. Another Judge encouraged her to do more and work on her conceived idea as she has won herself half of the money as a boost to implementing her project.  

OSVP IMPACT AND SIGNIFICANCE

       The event emphasised gender equality by promoting women’s participation in technology and entrepreneurship.

       Innovations presented aligned with SDGs, highlighting the potential of technology in education, healthcare, agriculture, and economic empowerment.

       Collaboration between the government, industry experts, and entrepreneurs was facilitated, fostering networking and potential partnerships.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the Orange Social Venture Prize (OSVP) 2023 in Sierra Leone stands as a testament to the power of innovation, entrepreneurship, and collaboration in driving positive change within Sierra Leone. With a strong emphasis on social innovation, technology-driven solutions, and gender equality, the event brought together a diverse array of entrepreneurs, experts, and dignitaries. In a broader context, the Orange Social Venture Prize Sierra Leone 2023 event underscored the potential of technology to drive social and economic progress. It exemplified how innovative solutions can tackle complex challenges, improve quality of life, and contribute to sustainable development. The event’s focus on inclusivity and gender equality further emphasised the importance of leveraging technology for social impact and empowerment. Ultimately, the OSVP 2023 event in Sierra Leone showcased the transformative journey of entrepreneurship, innovation, and collaboration. It provided a platform for visionary minds to present their solutions, celebrate their contributions, and inspire a brighter future for the country through technology-driven initiatives. The event encapsulated the spirit of progress and transformation, reflecting the potential of technology to drive positive change in Sierra Leone and beyond.

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Crazy/Wicked Idea

The much-anticipated Pitch Night with the theme "Crazy/Wicked Ideas" was held at Limkokwing University on 26/07/23. 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.

Following the welcome speech, Ms Lamarahna Bah, one of our Communications Leads, who also was the host for the night, introduced the panel of distinguished judges who would evaluate the pitches. The judges included Ms Haja Isatu Bah the CEO of Uman4Uman, Madam Naasu Fofanah CEO of Susu Consultancy, Mr Mohamed Barrie CEO of Fashion One and Mr Joannes Hotagua CEO of Authentic African, each bringing a wealth of expertise and experience to the table.

The highlight of the evening was the captivating pitches delivered by four exceptional individuals, each showcasing their unique and ambitious ideas. The pitchers were given their designated time of five minutes each to present their concepts, which ranged from groundbreaking technological innovations to revolutionary social initiatives. The audience was captivated by the passion and enthusiasm displayed by the pitchers throughout their presentations.

The first pitcher Gifty Renner from “Not Just An Art”, whose vision is to awaken the young generation to a new perspective of ideas and values to secure the future and the next generation's future through Art. Thereby solving problems surrounding Climate change, Education, Emotional expression and health, Cultural preservation and identity and also boosting Gender empowerment. Following her pitch, the judges were provided with an opportunity to offer feedback and ask potential questions. Ms Haja Isatu Bah expressed her perspective on Gifty's business, perceiving it primarily as a waste management initiative rather than an art preservation endeavour due to the predominant use of waste materials. Additionally, Ms Bah highlighted that the business covers a wide range of sustainable goals, suggesting that Gifty should concentrate on the one that resonates with her the most.

The second pitcher, Samuel Koroma, has the vision to be the leading provider of electric cars that are stylish, efficient and environmentally friendly. The problems they aim to combat are Climate Change and Air Pollution, through Manufacturing Electric Cars and making them accessible for an affordable cost.

The penultimate pitcher Victor Ikoh from ‘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 utilization of waste materials by 70% by exploring options for outsourcing customized oils to be used as raw materials in his production process.

Oswald Dundas, the ultimate 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 ionizing an electrolyte made up of saltwater. This transforms the magnesium on the inside into electrical energy. Oswald was advised by the judges to firstly launch and register his business, having patent rights because the idea of water being used to produce light is unique. Let it be visible and affordable nationally and regionally.

After each pitch, the judges provided valuable feedback, offering constructive criticism and commendations. Their insightful comments not only motivated the pitchers but also provided guidance for further development and refinement of their ideas. The interactive feedback sessions fostered an environment of growth and learning as the judges showed interest in collaborating with some of the pitchers after the event.

Adding an extra layer of knowledge and inspiration, the guest speaker, Dr Ye Tao, the CEO/founder of MEER Foundation, delivered a thought-provoking presentation on the reduction of heat. His expertise and insights shed light on the importance of sustainable practices and offered valuable strategies for combating climate change.

As the evening progressed, the judges deliberated and made the difficult decision of selecting the two winners who would advance to the finals in September. These two outstanding pitches demonstrated exceptional potential and innovation. The winners, Mr. Victor Ikoh and Mr. Oswald Dundas of Dundas Tech Company will have the opportunity to compete for a seed capital of $5000 to further develop their ideas.

The Crazy/Wicked Ideas Pitch Night was an exhilarating event that showcased the power of imagination and innovation. The pitches, the invaluable feedback from the judges, and the enlightening guest speaker presentation all contributed to an evening that inspired and motivated all attendees. We eagerly anticipate the upcoming finals in September, where these two finalists will have the chance to join other pitchers to compete and turn their dreams into reality.

Innovation SL remains committed to nurturing creativity and supporting entrepreneurial endeavours, and we look forward to hosting more exciting events in the future.

Reported by Francess Beresford-Renner,

Comms Lead,

Innovation SL.

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Exponential Technology, Digital/Industrial Disruptor/Fintech

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. 

Compiled by,

Julliet Josiah.

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EdTech Pitch Night- August Edition

“Edtech” is the theme for this month’s Pitch Night, which was held at Limkokwing University on the 31st of August, 2022. It is a night where different innovators come with their ideas on how to help improve the educational system in Sierra Leone through the use of technology (either online or offline). 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 or entrepreneurs to not just market their products/businesses but also to solicit feedback to help their businesses grow.  After the four judges of the event namely Dr. Brian E. Conton, Madam Sunnah Keili, Mr. Simon E. Tsike-Sossah and Mr. Abdulsalam Kamara have introduced themselves, Mrs. Emily called on the first pitcher.

Mr. Mohamed Bangura, a member of King Medo Tech, who highlighted in his pitch that as a company their idea aims to solve the increasing problem of potential errors or miscalculations, lack of proper database for keeping track of grades, inconsistencies in student records, report generation which takes a long time and unauthorized access in schools and colleges by providing a SierraGrade School Result Manager (SierraGrade). This is a system that is an automated, secured and error free result manager that produces report cards in less time and keeps track of all grades for future reference with three months of free usage, free training & technical support and also free video tutorials for their users.

Mr Abdulsalam Kamara, one of the judges commended Mr. Bangura for his brilliant idea and asked him how sustainable the business is and if it has easy access. He also asked about the structures he has put in place for security purposes.

 Dr. Brian Conton congratulated him for identifying one of the key areas affecting the schools and colleges. He asked the pitcher where the data is  saved since it is an offline system and his competitive advantage. 

Mr. Simon E. Tsike-Sossah asked if he could input data into the system as a client. Madam Sunnah Keili asked how different the system is from the general automated system.

The second pitcher Mr. Alusine Barrie explained that through his Fore-Front company, there is High Quality private tutoring, e-learning and education consultancy. This actually works to produce a guaranteed exam success and skills mastery, leverage technology and innovative teaching & learning to ‘multiply’ great teaching through their E-Learning packages, provide evidence based approach through his baseline and monthly progress tracking & reporting to clients & benefactors. 

The Judges asked Mr. Alusine Barrie what is unique about his business since there is YouTube to watch video tutorials from. Mr. Simon E. Tsike-Sossah recommended Mr. Barrie for the energy he used in conducting this current teaching. 

Dr.Brian E. Conton asked Mr. Alusine Barrie about the methodology he is using and how he can use it to combine it with E-Learning. 

Mr. Peter Tom Nyamah was the third pitcher. He stated that his idea is to start a Preschool Learning Aids that would solve the problem of the methods of teaching in preschool because of the unavailability of appropriate teaching materials in preschool by providing teaching aids for 2-3 years old pupils.

Mr. Nyamah was asked why he did not bring the box (calculator) and how he knew that the product lasts for ten years since they just started in2018. Dr. Brian E. Conton asked why he started by giving the figures for WASSCE and then went back to talking about Pre-Schools.

Eventually, Mr Emmanuel Kamanda, innovator of an offline Stem Server called LOREM, was the fourth and final pitcher. Mr. Kamanda’s idea is geared towards solving the problem of students not having affordable & reliable access to organized quality stem content by creating the above named server for schools and colleges.

The judges asked Mr. Kamanda how the App would generate revenue.  Mr. Abdulsalam commended Mr. Kamanda by saying he liked his project. He also asked that he work with Mr. Barrie since they have similar ideas. Madam Sunnah asked how he decides which contents to show the customer/students. 

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 asked some entrepreneurs to come and market their product to the audience. Madam Nyallay Sheriff talked about her product Metro Cables, Mr. Emmanuel from CARE Sierra Leone  talked about new product they are offering to the public wit a generous profit margin. which is and Mr. Victor Pratt from dot.Bleu talked on the different packages they are offering. She also engaged the audience to keep their questions for the pitchers for after the event as there is no time for that now. 

The event was brought to an end when the judges announced the winners of the pitch event as Mr Mohamed Bangura, followed by Mr Emmanuel Kamanda who took the second position. Mr Alusine Barrie and Mr Peter Tom Nyamah came in closer with a tie for the third position. Miss Nyallay Sheriff presented the gift to Madam Sunnah Keili, Dr Modupeh Taylor Pierce presented the gift to Dr Brian E. Conton, Mr Emmanuel Boima presented to Mr Simon E. Tsike-Sossah and Mr. David Manley presented to Mr Abdulsalam Kamara on behalf of Freetown Pitch Night.  Mrs. Emily’s then gave the closing remark and vote of thanks 

Compiled By,

Julliet Josiah.

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Crazy Night 

“Crazy Night” as the theme for this month’s Pitch edition held at Limkokwing University on the 27th of July, 2022 refers to a night where crazy but creative ideas were displayed. The event was chaired by Mrs. Emily Bah, who welcomed the guests and thereafter explained the significance of the event as an opportunity for startups or entrepreneurs with crazy but innovative ideas in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Mrs Emily later introduced Mr. Francis Stevens George , MD of Innovation SL who later emphasized the significance of Crazy Pitch Night, and welcomed all who were in attendance to witness the Pitch Night.                        

After the introduction of the four judges of the event namely in the persons of Mr. Nick Asigil, Madam Naasu Fofanah, Dr. Wahid Awonuga and Madam Fatima Sesay, Mrs. Emily called on the first pitcher Mr. Adonis Assaf, a member of Stratton Electric, who highlighted in his pitch that as a company their crazy idea aims to solve the fluctuating problem of rising cost of gasoline in the country by providing an Electric Auto RickShaw(keh keh) as a means of transport at a cheaper and affordable cost for the working class people in Freetown.

The judges commended Mr. Assaf for his brilliant idea and advised him to redefine his target market. However, the Judges enquired how Stratton would ensure safety for passengers, warranty of the Auto-RickShaw(keh keh), battery duration, their target market and transactions and financials. 

The second pitcher Mr. John Abdul Turay explained that through his Fintech Digital Osusu Platform, Osusu transactions will go cashless which will enforce accountability, transparency between the Osusu masters and members. 

The Judges asked whether research was done to determine the number of illiterate and literate people that are in the Osusu Business, they also questioned his current market size, transactions and financials, the cost of building the App, the security measures he has in place if the App is hacked and how he intends to generate income from the App. The Judges recommended that he finetune his innovation and seek advice from people that have been championing the traditional way of Osusu collection.

Sir Prince Malcolm Nuni was the third pitcher. He stated that his crazy idea is to start an Airline Services that would solve the problem that Business Persons, Domestic Tourists, International Organizations, Government Officials and NGOs face when using roads to travel by providing fast, safe and comfortable Air Transportation that offers both Business and Economy class

Mr. Nuni was applauded by the judges for his initiative and subsequently questioned his target market, flight experience, the place that would serve as the landing site, the type of aircrafts he intends to use and the personnels that would manage the Airline.

Eventually, Kelly Kamara, innovator of  an online football App called MiddleMan, was the fourth and final pitcher. Mr. Kamara’s crazy idea is geared towards solving the problem of lack of international exposure of Sierra Leonean Players  by creating the above named App to expose Sierra Leonean players to both International and Local  Football Agents, Football Managers and Football Scouts.

Mr. Kelly Kamara was asked by the judges how the App would generate revenue, what would and advised that  

In line with its theme, this month’s Pitch Night was interactive and hilarious. The host Mrs. Emily bah engaged the audience allowed them to pose questions to the pitchers and organizers of the Crazy Pitch Night and displayed hilarious images to entertain the guests 

The event climaxed with the announcement of the pitch winners the Electric Keh-Keh and Osusu Master App as winners of the Crazy Pitch Night. Granta Kanda Airways came in 2nd and Football App took 3rd place. Ms. Hickmatu, Mr. Bashir, Mr. Raphael and Mr.  Manato Presented gifts to the judges on behalf of Freetown Pitch Night and  Ms. Emily’s closing remark and vote of thanks 

Compiled By,

Fanta Lomax.

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Climate Diplomacy Week 2020

The European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone and Freetown Pitch Night is organizing a Pitch Event to mark EU Delegation to Sierra Leone Climate Diplomacy Week 2020.
The theme is Replacement of Single Plastic Use.
The winner stands a chance to win a foreign travel sponsored by the EU and Brussels Airlines for the purpose of improving their idea.
During Climate Diplomacy Weeks, EU Delegations and embassies of several EU Member States around the world hold various events to foster dialogue and cooperation on climate change, showcase success stories and inspire further action.

The event will take place on October 14th 2020, from 5pm-7pm. It will be streamed live via the facebook page of Freetown Pitch Night.

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Pitch Night -May 15th

United Nations Member States in 2015 adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as the centerpiece of The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
SGD 6 -Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
Access to safe water and sanitation and sound management of freshwater ecosystems are essential to human health and to environmental sustainability and economic prosperity.
We need the private sector to innovate, be creative, take risks and meet the needs of those low-income urban consumers who lack access to water and proper sanitation.

Entrepreneurs are a force for Social Change. Empowering young entrepreneurs is one of the strategic objectives of the Freetown Pitch Night.
By providing viable and innovative solutions to economic and social issues, these entrepreneurs can transform Sierra Leone.
Four entrepreneurs will pitch their ideas on
(a) access to safe and affordable drinking water
(b) a sanitation business model

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