After the memorandum of understanding we signed with A-Venture at the BRICS summit last week, we embarked on our first project together, which was collaborating to host the GEC+Africa lead-up activity, where hundreds of startups applied to pitch to stand a chance to be featured at the grand finale in Cape Town, 2024. The pitch took place at the private/public sector-owned accelerator in Algeria, seeing a dozen startup pitch to a panel of judges.
My colleague, Ms Mahlatse Tolamo, 22 On Sloane’s Head of Stakeholder Relations and Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) Managing Director, was in Algeria to participate in the pitch, while rubbing shoulders with various stakeholders in the ecosystem. This was the third lead-up activity that we have hosted, as we near the GEC+2024 – scheduled to be held in Cape Town on 13-14 March, where they will compete with fellow rising African entrepreneurs as they pitch to showcase their innovations to global investors in a bid to win their share of a $100,000 cash prize.
The GEC+ Africa partnered with Google to facilitate the online bootcamp for the selected startups, prior to their pitching. The bootcamp session, which was led by the Head of Startup Ecosystems in Africa at Google, Folarin Aiyegbusi, prepared and engaged the startups with motivating tips and pointers around maximizing their business potential, perfecting personal branding, ensuring effective value proposition communication and pitching time management. The results were evident on pitch day, as all presentations captured the attention of the judges.
I was impressed by my colleague’s enthusiasm when she took the stage to set the tone, sharing valuable insights about the upcoming congress and emphasizing the incredible value that startups, SME’s, policymakers, investors and Entrepreneur Support Organisations (ESOs) stand to gain by participating and partnering in GEC+ Africa 2024
Algeria Venture Group Managing Director, Sid Ali Zerrouki, and GEN Algeria’s Vice President Zafira Ouartsi, who I met recently during the signing ceremony in Johannesburg, commended the Global Entrepreneurship Network’s efforts to connect Africa’s vibrant entrepreneurial networks and draw attention to the value of exploring the various budding innovations that permeate the continent’s entrepreneurial landscape.
I watched virtually, in what was a truly inspiring and captivating two and a half hours of pitching, before deliberations took place by the judging panel, comprised of 22 On Sloane Investment Associate, Zinhle Mncube, Algeria Venture Head of Operations, Yacine Chikhar, and IT consultant Younes Grar, deciding on the three best business pitches of the day, one of which would be receiving an all-expenses paid trip to GEC+AFRICA in 2024.
The third-place position was awarded to Immotify, a uniquely comprehensive app that facilitates the search, verification and purchase of property from verified sellers in real time.
The runner-up was Garini, which digitally rents out monthly parking spaces in urban cities.
The gold medal, so to speak, went to the “under-thirty-minutes food and grocery delivery” application, Efendim. The founder, Aimen Boukhouidem, expressed his gratitude and pride for being chosen as a competitor for next year’s congress and humbly accepted the award for his team’s work in harnessing the all-inclusive app that functions in four different languages and cities, as well as chat, wallet and driver interfaces. With over 16 000 orders processed in six months, more than 18 000 downloads and just under 500 working drivers, Efendim ticked all the boxes required to remain in the running for the grand prize.
After the resounding success of the Algeria lead-up activity, we at 22 on Sloane, look forward to hosting the fourth pitch competition in Nairobi, Kenya, on 13 September 2023, as the search for more ground-breaking businesses and entrepreneurs continues!
To find out more about the next pitching competition taking place in your country, visit https://gecafrica.co/lead-up-activities/
To register for the GEC+ Africa Congress in Cape Town, South Africa, from 13 – 14 March 2024, visit https://gecafrica.co/
Kizito Okechukwu is the Executive Head of 22 On Sloane and the co-Chair of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) Africa.