MIT Sloan Africa Innovate Conference 2023

Pitch Competition

Compete To Win A Part Of $30,000!

Deadline: January 31st, 2023 11:59PM EST (application has closed)

AIC 2023 Pitch Competition Finalists



Souleymane Gning

Assuraf is an insurtech offering flexible and instant insurance coverage for the vast majority of the population in Africa without any access to insurance which leaves them at risk of further financial devastation. Established in 2019 and headquartered in Dakar-Senegal, our secret sauce is to offer most types of insurance (including tailored micro-insurance) through a tech-powered omnichannel insurance infrastructure. Assuraf is 100% African-founded and committed to fostering financial inclusion and resilience on the continent through insurance, starting with Francophone Africa.

Emergency Response Africa


Folake Owodunni

Emergency Response Africa (ERA) is a healthcare technology company that is changing how medical emergencies are managed in Africa, beginning in Nigeria. ERA saves lives by connecting individuals experiencing a medical emergency to the largest network of Community First Responders, ambulances, and hospitals to deliver care in minutes using technology. ERA has been recognized for the work it is doing in providing technology-enabled care, including features in national newspapers and leading technology publications.



Stanley Anigbogu

LightEd is a company that designs, manufactures, and sells solar home systems, solar-powered lamps, and other sustainable energy solutions. Our products are designed to provide access to clean and affordable energy to households, small businesses, and communities currently underserved or off-grid. Our solar home systems are built using electronic waste, and we utilize e-waste to reduce electronic waste pollution. Our solar-powered lamps are made from single-use plastic bottles and electronic waste.



Karim Amer

VAIS is bringing the power of geospatial intelligence and AI to the hands of farmers across Africa. The deep tech-focused company developed a proprietary technology using satellite data to provide farmers, and other actors such as insurers, traders, or governments with accurate information on field water levels and timely recommendations that significantly save irrigation water consumption, increase yield and alleviate the impacts of droughts and crop diseases. VAIS platform is highly scalable and accessible via mobile app or web. VAIS differentiates its technological solution by utilizing ZERO in-field hardware equipment. Designed as a SaaS product, farmers pay based on the size of the land being monitored on a monthly subscription.

Neural Labs Africa

Tom Njoroge

Neural Labs Africa is a medical technology company that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve medical diagnosis by screening medical images for radiologists and hospitals in real-time. Their technology, NeuralSight™, uses deep learning and computer vision to identify over 13 respiratory diseases and pathologies, including tuberculosis, pneumonia, COVID-19, and lung, breast, and prostate cancer. The company’s mission is to democratize access to diagnostic healthcare and positively impact healthcare through AI. It has a unique value proposition that leverages demographic data to solve health problems. Their technology can ensure early and accurate disease detection and play a crucial role in reducing disease costs in Africa.


The Africa Innovate Conference will select 5 finalists from startups focused on providing solutions to problems in Africa. Finalists will have the opportunity to:

  • Travel to MIT to present at AIC (all-expense-paid!)
  • Meet key players in the MIT entrepreneurship ecosystem
  • Network with innovative founders from across the world
  • Win a part of $30K in prize money  

AIC 2023 Pitch Competition

How It Works

Application open for submission until January 31st

Applications for the competition will be accepted until January 31st, 2023 at 11:59 EST. Applications will then be reviewed and finalists chosen based on the Eligibility Criteria below

5 finalists will be announced by mid-February

In mid-February, 5 finalists will be announced and will receive extensive feedback from mentors to help them prepare for their presentation in April at MIT

3 winners will be selected

5 finalists will pitch live at MIT in front of all conference attendees on Friday, April 14th, 2023 and 3 winners will be selected by the judges

Competition Tiering

3 winners (1st, 2nd & 3rd) will be selected out of the 5 finalists, after a live presentation at AIC, and awarded cash prizes

1st Place


2nd Place


3rd Place


Requirements and Criteria

Competition Details

The 12th edition of the MIT Sloan Africa Innovate Conference will be held on April 14th and 15th, 2023. This year’s conference explores the theme “The Next Frontier: Building Resilient and Strategic Leadership in Africa.” The Pitch Competition is meant to spotlight innovators that are at the forefront of creating solutions to the problems facing the continent.

5 finalists will be invited to pitch their business in front of all conference attendees and receive feedback from a panel of experienced judges. The winner, runner-up, and third place will be awarded cash prizes of $10,000, 5,000, and $3,000, respectively.

The 5 finalists will also have the opportunity to meet various facilitators of entrepreneurship from within the MIT entrepreneurship ecosystem and from esteemed centers such as Legatum Center and Martin Trust Center. Finalists will also have a chance to receive feedback and input from conference participants as well as network with attendees.

The application form will be open on the conference website till January 31st, 2023 at midnight EST. Finalist announcement will take place mid-February.

Please feel free to contact for any questions or clarifications.

Eligibility Criteria

The competition is open to all African and Africa-focused entrepreneurs with businesses focused on shaping our future. Entrepreneurs who offer unique and homegrown solutions to local problems and who meet the following eligibility criteria are highly encouraged to apply:


  • Early stage startups (for profit or not-for-profit)
  • Startup must have raised $500,000 or less in funding to date
  • Business must be based out of the continent and serving the continent of Africa
  • Must have a working Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Evaluation Criteria

The Competition is about assessing the commercial merit and potential viability of each proposed new venture. The judges will evaluate its potential for economic success and the likelihood of achieving that success based upon the team’s plan, experience, and the validation of key assumptions and a clear and convincing presentation of the following:

  • Product/Service unique value proposition (what it is; what makes it distinctive)
  • Team composition (relevance to problem/breadth/depth of skills; ability to execute)
  • Opportunity (timing, market size/need, ability to penetrate, strong value proposition and business model)
  • Context (favorable regulatory/tax/political and industry context)
  • Competitive advantage (Business & Product / Technology)
  • ‍Easy to copy? Barriers to entry? IP? Hiring capabilities, How many competitors? etc.
  • Risk/Reward (ways to manage upside/downside)
  • Structured Experimentation (market validation of value proposition/growth hypothesis)
  • Financial (realistic assumptions underlying any financial projections)
  • Traction & Execution (defined milestones)
  • Go-to-market strategy
  • How will you or are you acquiring customers?
  • Marketing/Sales Channels/Partnerships?

All of these criteria need not to be exhaustively met in order to make a solid case for a winning idea. However, a well-laid-out problem, solution and execution path will go a long way in ensuring a great presentation. Teams that have gone far in their plans including, but not limited, to having a proven technology, recruited partners, or even attracted “beta” customers may increase their probability of success. On the other hand, strong early stage ideas that have been thought through and tested will be well-received and considered based on their standalone potential and the team’s ability to execute.

AIC over the years