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iHub By Jessica Colaço / May 18, 2012

First Wave Workshops for Pivot East Finalists

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Cross posted from the Pivot East Blog

The 25 Pivot East 2012 finalists, on 10th May 2012, attended their first mentorship and coaching training at the iHub, Nairobi. The coaching session was on Effective Pitching .The finalist who will have to pitch to Investors, Venture Capitalists, judges, government officials and other delegates during the pitching competition conference are using these sessions in preparation for the competition.

The first session was facilitated by Matia Mandela of m :Lab  and Peter Karimi of Nokia . Matia, talked about Good Pitching Skills, advising the attendees that Story telling serves as one of the best ways to make a good pitch to investors. This is because it humanizes the pitch and gives it an emotional appeal touch.

Peter Karimi from Nokia addressing the Finalists

To have a good pitch:
1. Target the pitch
2.  Be on time
3.  Know your audience
4. Get to the point…Fast!
5. Answer what problem you are solving
6. Use bold ideas to convey new content
7. Have small PowerPoint presentations.
8. Don’t read slides, TELL YOUR STORY!
9. Admit what you don’t know, don’t lie to the audience.
10. Know your competition
11. Control the meeting by taking charge.

The second session attended by the finalists ensued on 14th May at the iHub,Nairobi. The training was on Business Resource Planning  with a focus Customer Development facilitated by Courtney Mills of Sinapis Group.  This session was particularly important to the finalists because as startups the companies need to know how to have good customer relations and maintaining customers.

Courtney Mills, Co-Founder & Executive Director Sinapis Group

Courtney noted that most companies fail because there is no market for their product not because their product doesn’t work. She advised that before one decides to roll out as a company, they should test the prototype in the market to make sure that the product has a market before the company is up and running.

To get a market for a product it is important to analyze the market by Defining the problem you’re solving, Establishing source of Problem, Measure the impact of the Problem. “Before you test prototype, understand what users want so not to render your prototype useless and to save valuable time iterating” She Said.
The greatest risk of failure in not the development of the new product but in the development of customers and markets, this means that it is important for any company to understand who their customers are. It is very vital to have a clear customer profile for your product, because it helps in identifying their needs and how they adopt your product.

Types of customers for your startup
1. End users- day to day users of the product or service.
2. Influencers- Parties who think they have stake in whether your product or service is purchased
3. Recommenders: Parties whose opinion counts in getting an order e.g media, analysts
4. Economic buyer- Person with budget to buy your product/service
5. Final Decision Maker: The parties with the ultimate say in whether to buy your product/service.
6. Saboteurs- Parties comfortable with the status quo, and will try to sabotage your sale.

To maintain customers, use earlyvangelist when you start off, because they will push for your product. It is very important to understand that Customers need to feel that their purchase was “worth it” and that they go a “Good Deal”. This will ensure that the customers become ambassadors of the product as well as.

Author : Jessica Colaço

Jessica Colaço is currently the Director of Partnerships at iHub. She was the Founding Manager between 2010 and 2011 at iHub and Research Director between 2011 and 2013 at iHub Research. She is passionate about Innovation, Research, Mobile and Robotics Technology, Mentorship and Entrepreneurship in Kenya as she uses her position at iHub to court local, regional and international stakeholders to adopt Kenyan-made and African-made solutions. As an upcoming angel investor, she courts local and international investors to invest in great tech ideas and companies at idea and concept stage. She is also a Mobile and Robotics Tech Evangelist, Co-Founder of WMIAfrica and AkiraChix, ISOC-Kenya Chapter, Treasurer, ACM-W Nairobi Chapter Chair, TED Global Fellow 2009 and upcoming Guitarist. She was named one of the top 40 women under 40 years in Kenya's business scene by Business Daily on 2009, 2011 and 2012. Her endeavour is to put Kenya and Africa on the map for technology achievements and spur innovation within the country and continent! She blogs at: www.jessicacolaco.wordpress.com


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