Freetown Innovation Week

Day 3-FIW 2023

DAY 3/FINAL

The final day of the city’s Innovation Week was packed with high energy, as there were panel discussions, a robotics competition, and the final pitch night, with the winner taking home $5000 as seed capital. The theme of the day was STEM, an abbreviation of science, technology, engineering, and math. These presentations from a panel provided attendees with a deeper understanding of the latest developments in these fields and how they can be applied to solve real-world problems.

Panel Discussions:

As technology transforms the way we live and communicate, the third day of Freetown Innovation Week focused on the importance of STEM education in today’s landscape, emphasizing its role in driving economic growth, technological advancement, global competitiveness, addressing grand challenges, and promoting diversity and inclusion.  The panel included major STEM specialists who spoke for an hour about STEM, its benefits, and its role in the country. 

As Freetown Innovation Week progressed, the panels focused on entrepreneurship development and some of the roles that entrepreneurship and innovation play in economic development supported by STEM. The panelists comprised Madam Trudy Morgan, the president of the Women in Engineering organization, Mr. Khalil Ali from DSTI, and Ms. Davephine Tholley. 

They also highlighted the need for hands-on learning opportunities, engaging curriculum, and mentorship programs. The discussions were constructive and highlighted how education could be enhanced through collaboration between schools and businesses.

Robotics Competition:

The robotics competition organized by the Kamara Yokie Innovation Center (KYIC) was the highlight of the day; the atmosphere was electrifying as teams went head-to-head with their autonomous robots. The competition was fierce as the respective teams (Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) showed their coding skills, problem-solving abilities, and teamwork skills. The robots were impressive, showcasing different functions, including moving objects, detecting obstacles, and picking up small objects. The competition was an excellent opportunity for students to showcase their skills,  learn from their peers and the  best team was recognized and awarded with a prize from Innovation SL as a way of celebrating them and encouraging them.

Final Pitch Night:

The pitch night was the big finale of the Freetown Innovation Week, where entrepreneurs had the opportunity to demonstrate their innovative products or services to a panel of judges (Mr. Joe Abass Bangura, Madam Tafadzwa Chiganga, and Madam Angella Leigh). The competition featured six entrepreneurs who advanced to the finals with new concepts in STEM, climate change, and other fields. We had two pitchers (Augustine Martin from IPAM College University of Sierra Leone and Shanu from Limkokwing University) who were sent straight to the finals after winning their local campus pitch night, and the other four pitchers (Franklyn Momoh, Augustine Mansaray, Ishaka Kargbo, and Aminata Suma) who advanced after winning the FIW semi-finals. The winner gets $5,000 as seed funding to start or expand their business. This seed funding was provided exclusively by one of the sponsors of FIW Mercury International, one of the country’s largest betting platforms. The presentations were outstanding, and the ideas were diverse, ranging from energy to fashion to education to agriculture to technology to transportation.

Franklyn Momoh (The Winner)

Franklyn Momoh of BEENFRANK, a pitcher who is into sustainable fashion and uses clothes recycling and upcycling to help in climate change adaptation, emerged as the winner. This was a great achievement, and it is worthwhile. According to the judges, the reasons why the pitcher emerged victorious are as follows:

 One reason is the growing awareness and concern about climate change. Climate change has become a significant issue globally, and people are increasingly looking for ways to reduce their environmental impact. By promoting sustainable fashion, the pitcher is addressing a critical environmental concern and offering a practical solution to reduce waste and carbon footprints. Another reason why the pitcher won is that the concept of sustainable fashion is relatively new and innovative. Sustainable fashion is an emerging trend that is gaining traction as people become more conscious of their environmental impact. The pitcher’s ability to recognize this trend and offer a practical solution that aligns with the values of sustainability and environmental protection is commendable.

Furthermore, the judges were impressed by the pitcher’s ability to turn waste materials into beautiful and functional clothing items. Upcycling is an innovative way of reducing waste by repurposing materials that would otherwise end up in landfills. By upcycling, the pitcher is not only reducing waste but also creating unique clothing items that are eco-friendly and stylish.

Feedback from the judges was that the pitcher’s pitch was clear, concise, and well-researched. The pitcher  demonstrated a clear understanding of the environmental impacts of the fashion industry and the need for sustainable practices. Additionally, the judges appreciated the pitcher’s creativity and innovative approach to solving a critical environmental problem.

In conclusion, Franklyn Momoh, the pitcher who is into sustainable fashion and uses clothes recycling and upcycling to help in climate change adaptation, emerged as the winner of the first-ever Freetown Innovation Week pitch night. The pitcher’s ability to recognize an emerging trend, offer a practical solution that aligns with the values of sustainability and environmental protection, and turn waste materials into beautiful and functional clothing items contributed to winning the competition.

Cocktail/Networking event

The Freetown innovation week culminated in a cocktail event that brought together innovators, entrepreneurs, and thought leaders from across the city. The event was a celebration of the city’s vibrant and dynamic innovation ecosystem, and a chance to recognize the people and organizations that are driving positive change in the community.

The theme of the event resonates with the general theme of the FIW: “Inspiration. Innovation. The Future.” It was held at ‘The View Restaurant and Lounge’, a beautiful venue located in the city’s council building overlooking the city skyline. As guests arrived, they were greeted with a signature cocktail that had been specially created for the occasion. The cocktail was a blend of local ingredients that reflected the city’s unique flavor and personality, and it set the tone for an evening of creativity, collaboration, and inspiration.

Throughout the event, guests had the opportunity to network and connect with other innovators and entrepreneurs from a wide range of industries and backgrounds. They shared stories, exchanged ideas, and forged new partnerships and collaborations that have the potential to drive innovation and growth in the city for years to come.

The winner of the grand finale of the FIW pitch night, Franklyn Momoh, and the team also had the opportunity to relax, network with source customers, share their entrepreneurial journey experience so far, and celebrate over food and drinks as they received so many congratulatory messages.

As the event drew to a close, guests left feeling energized, inspired, and excited about the future of innovation in the city. The cocktail event had been a fitting climax to the city’s innovation week, bringing together the best and brightest minds in the community to celebrate and recognize the power of innovation to drive positive change and create a better future for all.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, Freetown Innovation Week was a huge success, bringing together a diverse group of individuals to share knowledge, build networks, and showcase the latest advancements in technology and innovation. It provided a platform for entrepreneurs and innovators to connect with investors and experts, creating opportunities for future collaborations and partnerships. The event was a testament to the city’s commitment to driving innovation and entrepreneurship, and it is expected to have a positive impact on the local economy and community. Overall, the Freetown innovation week was a resounding success and created a platform for the community to continue exploring innovative ideas in the future.

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