USIU-Africas Incubation and Innovation Center winds up for the Summer semester, with entrepreneurs getting an opportunity to pitch to potential investors

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A class session at USIU-Africa's Incubation and Innovation Center in January 2020

By Scott Bellows

USIU-Africa's Incubation and Innovation Center (I2C) Summer semester 2020 culminated this week with entrepreneurs pitching their business venture ideas to a panel of investors. Each business in Phase 3 of incubation got to pitch for three minutes to the investors who then followed up with probing questions about venture scalability and investability. Historically, student and alumni entrepreneurs have received equity funding, debt funding, advice, linkages, and mentorship from investors. Investors and advisors present for this week's pitch included Ian Muriuki and Gideon Gitonga (Retice Technologies), Peter Nduati (Chairman, Resolution Insurance), Brian Mogeni (Co-Founder, Wowzi), and Kevin Muthoni (Senior Banker).

Throughout the semester, I2C held weekly trainings on Tuesdays, open coaching on Tuesdays and Thursdays, appointment coaching on Mondays and Wednesdays, focus groups on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, and finally a guest speaker series on Thursday evenings. Guest speakers this semester included Eric Ochieng (CMO of MedLux International), Odipo G. (CEO of Judera Group), Robert Kimani (President of SEMA Toastmasters Kenya), Joram Mwinamo (CEO of SNDBX and Co-founder of Wylde International), Maurice Otieno (Executive Director of Baraza Media Labs and Ex-GM of Metta Kenya), Stephanie Kirathi (CEO of Alero Group), Angelina Ndung'u (CEO of Intel Domain, Ltd.), and Josiah Mugambi (Co-founder and COO of Qhala). Topics ranged from “Marketing and building start-ups in tune with your customer base", "how too much capital wrecked our business", "Improve your public speaking", "What it takes to succeed while being ethical as an entrepreneur in Kenya" to "Entrepreneurs’ media ecosystem in Kenya", "Women technology leaders and how to manage technology start-ups" and "Technology Start-ups for Non-Techies" respectively.

I2C provides entrepreneurship training, advisement, mentoring, investor pitching, coaching, linkages, and office space for student and alumni-run ventures. Selected business ideas are incubated for a 12-month period to develop the idea and to better position it for a successful launch and scale. Support to student and alumni entrepreneurs will launch its Fall semester 2020 programming during the second week of September with keynote speakers Sam Gichuru (CEO, NaiLab), Karin Boomsma (Founder, SIB), and John Kieti (Ashoka Foundation).

All services through I2C are free of charge for current students and alumni. Please feel free to register for the Fall semester incubation intake at the following link: https://forms.gle/hpudzLJ1s6mbXEtC8 .

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