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Pitch and win at AfricaCom

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Echoing the continental call for entrepreneurial excellence in technology, organisers of this year’s AfricaCom have created an event that will bring together innovators and investors in one arena.
Taking place on Wednesday 18 November, five short-listed start-ups will have three minutes to pitch in front of a panel of judges representing investors, incubators and start-up experts.

The AHUB, presented by Ericsson, is already attracting attention from both entrepreneurs and investors, but in order to stand out and make the most of the opportunity, some experts are advising would-be presenters on what they should do.

Peter Martin at Northwind Capital, as a potential investor in this sector and one of the judges of the Pitch & Win session, offers some sage advice:

• Pick the right investor – It is crucial to make sure you find the right investor. Do not just take money because it’s being offered. You don’t want an investor calling you five times a day. You want a partner that believes in you and will let you run your business. You also want an investor that can help and advise the business properly.

• Beware of funding consultants – There are definitely some good ones out there, but there are a lot of bad ones too. These consultants see you as an opportunity and they want a large retainer, an equity stake in your company, or both. Be aware of these people and check their credentials. Make sure you find one of the good ones if you decide to use one.

• Sell yourself and don’t give up control – An investor is generally not investing in the business or the idea. They are investing in you. Convince them that you are the right person to do the job, and gain their trust. This will make them less likely to ask for control of the company.

• Get good advice on the structure of your company – Hopefully you will be with it for a long, successful, time

With regards to the perfect pitch, Tom Jackson from Disrupt Africa recommends the following:

• Keep it short, but effective – Get to the point by outlining the key elements in your pitch. Select your words sensibly, but ensure they are powerful enough to capture attention.

• Ensure you pitch is bolted – It’s all very good being able to wax lyrical about the problem you are solving, how impressive your numbers are, and what your customers think, but possible investors will want to drill down, whether with immediate follow-up questions or when it comes to negotiating a term sheet. Identify the facts, stick to it and avoid tapering off with unnecessary information.

• Be ready to undergo trial by fire – It is in the drilldown where it will emerge whether your concept is solid or whether it is in fact a superficial idea disguised by a nice pitch. Know your product or idea inside out and be willing to answer multifaceted questions.

To be considered as a participant in the AHUB Pitch and Win event, the following criteria apply:
• High growth entrepreneurs whose business is rapidly growing and scaling
• Start-ups in the tech sector or using tech to meet a need in an African market
• Businesses that are planning to internationalize, especially into Africa
• Entrepreneurs looking to partner with Africa’s leading telecom and tech brands and African Innovation Hubs
• Teams with passionate members working together and looking to attract more talent
• Start-ups seeking investment, mentors or partners to support their growth plans

However, AHUB goes beyond a pitch and win event. It also includes three days of insightful discussion, debate and presentations by some of the continent’s leading success tech brands. These sessions are also offered free of charge to start-ups and small businesses operating in the sector.

Details on how to apply and entry form can be found on: http://ahub.comworldseries.com/pitch-win/