1776 Regional Cup Challenge

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This Thursday, a couple of my workmates and I headed to the 1776 Regional Cup Challenge.

But what is 1776 Cup Challenge?

Each year, 1776, a global incubator holds a global competition for StartUps and they compete for cash prizes alongside invaluable mentorship and connection. There are three rounds involved: Local round that gets the most promising Start Ups in Cities, Regional round that produces the best Start Ups in a region and Global round where the regional winners battle it out for the 1 winning seat. To compete, Start Ups must be less than three years old and with less than $1.5 million in funding.

As you can see, it is pretty exciting getting to hear over 15 mind-blowing ideas and executions and to see how they present the whole package in under 3 minutes.  I was also excited because I have never been at a pitch before, closest I have been is Shark Tank  episodes :)

This year, Nairobi was the city holding the regional round for Africa’s most disrupting Start Ups at the Kenya National Theatre. 30 Start Ups from Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Uganda and Morocco were in the house with names like Boresha Limited, ZeePay, Awamu Biomass Energy, Besew, GoMobile, MumCare, Mazwi and Run Africa just to name a few. Solutions were being provided for different sectors including Energy, Health, Transportation, Education, Agriculture and Money.

In under 1hr 30mins the presentations were done and the judges were deliberating the winners who would proceed to the next round. To see what companies were there and a summary of what each is all about, you can check out our Twitter a/c here.

From this event these are some of the things that I took home:

  1. Africa is one fire. The solutions being provided were very innovative and out-of-the-box solutions. Africa has great minds that are teaming up to solve the problems of the continent and in a very effective way.
  2. Pitching is not easy :) Believe me, I thought how hard can two minutes be to present an idea until I saw it happen. The presentations were awesome but one thing that struck me is that you can have a great solution but it can be drowned by your people/presentation/soft skills.
  3. Keep building. If you are an Entrepreneur and you are building a solution to a viable problem, keep building. The world does not necessarily need big solutions only. The little innovative solutions add up to big problems in the globe being solved.
  4. It is great and fun to have the hottest new app, but it is much greater if it does provide a tangible solution too :)

Last year, Twiga Fruits, a solution for farmers, from Nairobi Kenya won the challenge. Let’s hope Africa will be put on the map again:) Read more about 1776 Challenge Cup here.

Personal opinion:

Which was my best Start Up? Mazwi and Green-Kiosk :)

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