Pivot East 2013 - Call for applications

By John Kieti
m:lab
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Mobile phones have transformed East Africa, not just from a social and cultural point of view, but access to and use of mobile phones and applications is also shaking up the region’s entire economic system.  m:lab East Africa has organized editions of its regional mobile startups pitching competition and conference dubbed Pivot 25 and Pivot East respectively in the past two years. In this years competition there will be a paradigm shift from focusing on mobile applications and developers to startups becoming sustainable enterprises according to organizers who held a briefing session for media on Tuesday 12th February.

Pivot East is about catalysing the growth of mobile start-ups, with an aim to amplify and consolidate the gains of East Africa’s Mobile developer and entrepreneurship ecosystem. The final pitching conference will take place in Kampala Uganda from 25th - 26th June 2013

A key objective for Pivot East 2013 is “to facilitate discovery of the next wave of high potential mobile start-ups”.
Other objectives include;

  • To consolidate recent gains of the regional mobile ecosystem and help direct the thinking from mobile applications to mobile entrepreneurship.
  • To sustain the push towards mobile innovations being high in the agenda of regional governments, corporates and development agencies
  • To raise the quality of mobile startups in the region and to improve their investability
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Organizers giving a media briefing at iHub. From left: Moses Kemibaro (Pivot East 2013 producer), Ken Mwenda (eMobilis MD), Erik Hersman (iHub Founder) and John Kieti (m:lab Manager)

The competition has five categories as follows :-

  1. Mobile Finance – including mobile payments, banking, insurance etc.
  2. Mobile Enterprise – including management of human capital, the value chain, marketing, production, customers etc.
  3. Mobile Entertainment – including gaming, social networking, magazines, music, video, photography etc.
  4. Mobile society – including education, agriculture, health, governance and other social development themes.
  5. Mobile Utilities – A catch all category including applications for enhancing the usability and versatility of mobile devices.
In previous years, Pivot East has received support from various organizations both in cash and in kind. Sponsors supporting Pivot East this year are Intel, Microsoft, Samsung, Nokia, Qualcomm and Facebook among others. Tech hubsOutboxand Hive Colab, based in Kampala Uganda, will be  Co-hosting the finalists event in Kampala. Other partners and sponsors are encouraged to join Pivot East to help in growing the Region’s mobile startup scene. Local institutional and angel investors are also invited to explore the deal pipeline that Pivot East presents.

During the media briefing a few issues were raised, why there are so many pitching competitions in the region. This is because techpreneur are not taught how to pitch their products to investors in school. Pitching competitions gives them a platform to learn about how to talk about their products to investors. Its important to have enough competitions to build our capacity and companies"

Pivot Eastorganizerswill conduct information workshops across the region in the next four weeks for mobile developers and entrepreneurs. The first information workshop will be held in Nairobi at iHub on 23rd March 2013 10:00 - 12:30pm. Subsequent information workshops will be held in Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania respectively - more information on the venue and dates for these will be given through the Pivot East blog. Entries to the competition are to be submitted through the startups information platform on entries.pivoteast.com.

The deadline for submission of applications is on 15th April 2013. Applicants are encouraged to start building their startup profiles early and to source for the required information pieces

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