PIVOT East 2016 announce the open call for applications for the PIVOT East 2016 edition.
PIVOT East is Africa’s biggest startups competition and conference held annually since 2011. The competition comprises of a series of activities that will culminate in the finalist conference which will be held on 15th November 2016. The conference is organized by m:lab East African initiative of the iHub.
PIVOT East  aims to catalyse the growth of startups, so as to amplify and consolidate the gains of East Africa’s digital entrepreneurship ecosystem.  The key objective for this year’s event is “to facilitate discovery of the next wave of high potential startups in the region”.
What is a startup?
For purposes of PIVOT East competition, the definition that  “a startup company or startup is a company or temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model” will apply. The competition will accept treatment of innovative software solutions fronted by companies that otherwise have other solutions as separate startup entries. This will be the expectation that the innovative software solution entered in the competition can be spun off into a separate autonomous company.
Intellectual Property and visibility of Startups’ information
Information submitted through the PIVOT East competition application process and the associated intellectual property belongs to the startups. The information will be visible to organizers of PIVOT including the judging panels for purposes of identifying the best startups to showcase and support through the competition.
For more inquiry on how to apply for the competition, feel free to send an email at lincoln(at)mlab.co.ke  or egra(at)mlab.co.ke

  • Participating startups must be domiciled in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan, Burundi, Somalia or DR Congo
  • Entries to the competition will be considered to be startups as per the universal definition of a “startup”* or a startup company (*as done below)
  • Participating startups must indicate details of at least two members of their team in their application profile
  • Companies that reached final 25 lists of PIVOT 2011, PIVOT 2012 ,PIVOT 2013,PIVOT 2014, PIVOT 2015 may not compete with products/services previously submitted for the competition, the judging panel will have the discretion to disqualify entries in breach of this requirement.
  • Competitors selected to the final 25 list must have set up a legal entity (business name, limited company etc) for their business by 8th September 2016. Competitors with legal entities already set up will have an added advantage at all judging stages.
  • Decisions of the judging committees at all competition stages will be final.


  • The competition has five categories which are; Finance, Enterprise, Entertainment, Utilities and Society and Governance. Each category will feature five finalists who will pitch to an audience of Investors, Development Partners, Government Representatives, Telecom Operators and other key stakeholders from East Africa. The 25 finalists will receive training and coaching on how to pitch to investors.
  • Startups that reached final 25 lists of PIVOT 2011, PIVOT 2012 ,PIVOT 2013, PIVOT 2014, and PIVOT 2015 may not compete with products/services previously submitted for the competition. The judging panel will have discretion to disqualify entries in breach of this requirement. Companies that entered the competition but did not make it to the finals can compete with the same product.

How to Apply
Make sure you have a venture profile published on the VC4Africa platform
Startups that meet the eligibility criteria may enter their application into the competition through the following steps :-

  1. Go to VC4Africa platform (vc4a.com) and set up your startup profile
  2. If you already have a startup profile on VC4Africa, go straight towww.pivoteast.com/apply2016
  3. Curate your Startup profile according to given profile headings
  4. Ensure that you upload a short (max 5 mins) video of the founders expressing the mission and strength of their startups on the VC4Africa profile.
  5. Applicants are advised to use all components available under the profiles section to best describe their strengths and potential for growth.
  • Startups from across the region that meet the requirement can start applying for the competition.
  • Applications to compete in 2016 will be entered as detailed startup profiles which describe the customer pain, the startups solution, revenue streams, team composition and commitment, market traction, short-term projections and milestones among other aspects.  The overall startup profile will be used by the competition judges who will mostly be investors to score the potential of the startup to become a sustainable high growth enterprise.

Deadline: The deadline for submission of applications is 8th September 2016. Applicants are encouraged to start building and curating their startup profiles early as they might need to research or source some of the information required widely.
Click here for more details and to apply

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