Pitch perfect, a Ugandan online show focused on innovators, launches

At the recently concluded Kampala Innovation Week, one of the activities was rewarding e-Fundi, the winner of Pitch Perfect, an online show.

The awarding of the winner a few weeks ago, however, was the conclusion of the show that had began close to three months ago.

Pitch Perfect, an online show featuring entrepreneurs pitching their solutions, started by a call for applications from entrepreneurs and innovators in all sectors. These stood a chance to win $1,000 as the prize.

The show is as a product of the collaboration between Global Business Developers, The Innovation Village and IDEA TV (a company owned by The Innovation Village) but led by Allan Busby.

According to Allan Busby, the Head of Global Business Developers, they received at least 50 applications. These were each called in for an interview to determine who should proceed to the next stage.

"Those interviews were to put a face to the idea and also help us tell which idea made sense," Allan said. Out of the 50, they managed to select 10 ideas that progressed to the next stage.

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After this, each of the 10 was supposed to do a 1-minute pitch - conducted in an elevator - which was later uploaded on the IDEA Tv facebook page. The 'best' idea or innovation was determined by the number of votes it receives. Each like equaled to a vote.

Ultimately, e-Fundi, an online market-place for mechanics and spare parts, emerged the winner of the $1,000.

According to Allan, this was the first edition. Their end goal is to have it run and get better several times a year with each edition of the show having multiple episodes. "Our initial plan was to have a show that has up to 10 episodes," he said.

Though they are currently constrained by resources and it's partly due to the lack of partners. "I believe with [other] partners onboard, we will be able [to hold it frequently]," Allan pointed out.

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Apart from The Innovation Village, they failed to secure other partners that could have boosted their capability to do more. They tried to look for partners but failed.

"We tried to look for partners," Allan said, "but being a new and online idea, most of the [potential] partners were skeptical."

Though, he is optimistic that they will be able to onboard some given the viewership numbers and reach they demonstrated with the first one. "We had over 80,000 [people] reached, with over 30,000 people liking and viewing the videos and over 300,000 minutes watched," he said.

They are looking at having Pitch Perfect at least twice or quarterly every year. And, so far, Allan says that their previous partner - The Innovation Village - is willing to come on board for another edition.

"I already got a heads up from our initial funder and they were like we need to do this again," he said.

According to my conversation with Allan, their target is partners who are currently or looking to support innovators. These, he believes, will benefit from either advertisement or as a way of CSR.

"Some companies have tried to run hackathons but have not yielded results. [Yet] if you're partnering with the Innovation Village which ran successfully the Hack for refugees, the Data Hack for Financial inclusion, then you're guaranteed [results]."

Pitch Perfect isn't the first show pitching show focused innovators and pitching.

In 2016, Uber launched UberPITCH across 37 cities and 21 countries. The goal was to give entrepreneurs " the chance of a lifetime by connecting you to some of the region’s top investors."

This was initially in Europe, but, it later spread to Africa. In February 2017, Uber held UberPITCH in Nairobi followed up by UberPITCH in South Africa in August this year.

The difference is that the entrepreneurs during UberPITCH sessions come already polished and pitch active investors. This is the missing gap in Pitch Perfect. Currently, it isn't any different from other competitions where entrepreneurs are given money and that's the end.

Though Allan says that they are also looking at entrepreneurs having to pitch to active investors as one of the key benefits. With the final prize as a bonus.

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