PIVOT East Africa startups competition 2016

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 finalists conference which will be held on 15th November 2016. The conference is organized by m:lab East Africa an 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”.

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.



  • 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 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 25 finalists will receive training and coaching on how to pitch to investors.

Close call for application : 6th September
Semifinalists Announcement : 26th September
Finalists Announcement: 11th October
Workshops : 18th Oct – 10 Nov
Main Pitching Conference : 15th Nov

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.

Applicants are also required to upload a short (max 5 mins) video of the founders expressing the mission and strength of their startups on their VC4Africa profile.

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 to
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.

Applicants are advised to use all components available under the profiles section to best describe their strengths and potential for growth.