Coming next year Pivot East will begin its call for entries to the mobile applications developer competition and conference which was previously Pivot 25. The name has since been changed to Pivot East, since its current coverage area is East Africa and various players in Africa approached m:lab East Africa and showed interest in sharing the brand “Pivot”. This will then allow for the other regions to host Pivot South, Pivot West and Pivot North events in the respective regions. However, this will not alter the 25 finalists from 5 categories that previously were synonymous with Pivot 25.
Mobile Society (Health, Agriculture and Education)
The event will be held on the 5th and 6th of June 2012 in Nairobi and entries will be accepted from companies located in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and South Sudan. The pitching conference will have a rich audience of investors, development partners, telecoms operators and other industry players from East Africa and across the globe. Pivot 25, a first of its kind mobile apps developer competition and conference helped string the success that Pivot East is building on, with over 100 entries from across East Africa in 5 categories which were “Payments and commerce”, “Entertainment, gaming and utilities”, “Business and the enterprise”, “Government, education and agriculture” and “Health”. The region takes on to the world with leading innovations like M-pesa and hence is well placed to bring out other world changing mobile innovation. The effort is clear with the launch of m:lab East Africawhich is a facility for mobile entrepreneurship training, incubation and applications testing in Nairobi. Other tech hubs and incubation centers have also been established recently in East Africa as part of a growing ecosystem to develop and nurture innovation alongside entrepreneurship.
Pivot 25 was organised by m:lab East Africa and its consortium partners led by iHub and eMobilis. The m:lab East Africa consortium which also includes The World Wide Web foundation and the University of Nairobi aims to identify, nurture and help build sustainable enterprises in the region’s knowledge economy. The mobile apps. competition and conference is therefore one of the Lab’s ways of improving chances for the most talented and promising mobile entrepreneurs “bubble up” and are showcased so as to receive support requisite through various access to markets, and access to finance initiatives.
The 2011 conference was attended by over 300 people who included angel investors,
venture capitalists, corporate executives, senior government officials, representatives of development organizations and researchers. The panels of judges for the contest were composed of industry experts and global thought leaders. The conference proceedings were live streamed by Capital FM. The competition and conference also received much coverage from local and international media including being featured in the Time Magazine.
In addition to five category winners receiving $5,000 cash prizes, the overall winner, MedAfrica (then MedKenya), won a fully paid trip to pitch their application at DEMO.COM in Silicon Valley and were voted one of the top ten applications at DEMO. Finalists also found exposure to sources of finance, business partnerships and markets for their applications through the conference and the Demo Pit component of the event.
Further queries regarding the competition, the conference and sponsorship may be directed through email to pivot[at]mlab dot co dot ke.