MIT Sloan Africa Innovate Conference 2023
Compete To Win A Part Of $30,000!
Deadline: January 31st, 2023 11:59PM EST (application has closed)
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
3 winners (1st, 2nd & 3rd) will be selected out of the 5 finalists, after a live presentation at AIC, and awarded cash prizes
Requirements and Criteria
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions or clarifications.
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)
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.