NOVEMBER 19, 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen, the time has arrived. It’s Showtime!

We awoke (or continued to be awake in some cases) from our accommodations in Cape Town and hastily jetted off to refine our pitches at Startup 90 studios.

At Startup 90, we were surprised to discover that we were expected to deliver an elevator pitch before a panel of South African investors at random. As you can tell from the below image, the AMPIONeers were a bit tense to present their ventures on the spot, especially mere hours before their official presentation at AfricaCom at the Cape Town Convention Centre.

Image. Preparation of AMPION pitches at Startup 90

Nevertheless, we pitched…we cried…and we moved on to our final…final destination of our Southern Africa Tour; AfricaCom.

Unfortunately, there seemed to be a large amount of confusion regarding whether AMPION was to present on the AfricaCom MasterClass stage, how to register the AMPION participants in order to distribute their passes for the Conference, and the presentation schedule.

Image. AMPIONeers patiently waiting for showtime on the AfricaCom MasterClass Stage

Luckily, after a few visits from the AfricaCom Organizers, we were given the greenlight to enter AfricaCom and see the arena where we would be pitching before the judges the ventures we had developed over the past week.

Image. AMPION Venture, A Time for Change, pitching at AfricaCom

Despite having pitched my social venture numerous times before a panel of judges, it somehow felt different pitching at AfricaCom. I’m not sure if it was because I was pitching on a different continent or a combination of jet-lag and spending over a week traveling on a bus.

Whatever the case, I felt everyone delivered show-stopping pitches, which is a huge compliment to my fellow AMPIONeers given that I make my living hearing start-up pitches from around the world.

The ideas and ventures that have emerged from the AMPION VentureBus over the past week cover a wide-range of challenges facing Southern Africa and have the potential to make a tangible social impact. However, as is life, there can only be one winner.

So here is the moment you all have been waiting for…

After an impressive two hours of pitching and 30 minutes for deliberation, the AMPION Panel had decided on the winner of the AMPION VentureBus Southern Africa Tour.

Image. E-Maji – Winners of the AMPION Southern Africa Bus Tour posing with Fabian, the leader of the AMPION Southern Africa Bus Tour


The Winners of the AMPION VentureBus Southern Africa Tour:

1st Place – E-Maji: E-maji is an African social venture focused on building simple GPS devices to monitor the quality of drinking water in boreholes. Government authorities, NGO’s, as well as concerned third parties are missing a real-time notification system that gives up to date information about the quality of water per borehole, whereas water disasters cannot be prevented or solved on time.

2nd Place –  RoadRules: Road Rules is a mobile app that enables individuals to study and practice for their learner (provisional) drivers license test on their mobile phones.

3rd Place – My Time for Change: An online platform that allows for South Africans to unlock their desire to be the change they desire to see in their communities by encouraging service, not just on Mandela Day, but 365.

After the winners graced the stage to a standing ovation from the audience, it was time for the AMPIONeers to part ways at the Cape Town Convention Center.

Among the hugs, handshakes, teary eyes, and yes…even some kisses… we all felt that we had just completed an important milestone in our lives.

40 participants…3,600 km…6 days…and we survived.

The past week with the AMPION VentureBus was full of several highs and lows, but I feel not one AMPIONeer would disagree with the statement that our journey was literally a life-changing experience.

On behalf of my comrades, we would like to thank Fabian and Francis for this amazing opportunity to share such an experience with like-minded aspiring young innovators and entrepreneurs.

It may take us a minute to wind down and recover from “life on the road”, but I have a pretty good feeling that our paths will surely cross again as we bring on-board the next generation of AMPIONeers.

It’s been a pleasure blogging for you all and hopefully we will meet again soon. Until then…deuces.

Netia 🙂

P.S.- Hopefully, we will have a blooper reel of the Southern Africa Tour to publish very soon. Here is a sneak peek. 😉

Caption: “Were there any reports of missing curtains on the AMPION VentureBus?” – Henry


A Guest Blog Contribution by Netia A. McCray, Founder and Executive Director of Mbadika

AMPION 2014 – Southern Africa Bus Tour Participant


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