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MIT Africa Innovate Conference - Pitch Competition

Woman speaking - Africa Innovate

Article by: Startup Recap

April 18, 2022

Last week was this year was MIT’s 11th annual Africa Innovate Conference. The theme for this year’s conference was “A Way Forward: Leveraging Innovation as a Catalyst for Growth.” In this spirit, the conference highlighted the innovative approaches companies have used to overcome challenges from the pandemic and ways companies on the continent of Africa are moving towards the future.

The pitch competition in particular featured seven early-stage ventures that are focused on Africa. I really enjoyed hearing from these founders and how they are creating impact in various sectors across the continent. Starting with the winners and in no particular order following, below are the finalists from this year’s Africa Innovate Conference Pitch Competition.


Winning first place and the grand prize of $5k was Ziada. Based in Nairobi Kenya, Ziada is a platform that connects service providers in the informal sector with clients seeking their services. They also provide business advisory and access to equipment rental.

Ziada helps both skilled and unskilled independent service providers put their businesses on the map and at the fingertips of potential customers. The platform also provides service providers with customer analytics, business advisory, retention strategies, tools, and equipment leasing. The company is also planning to launch digital payment services soon.

Ziada is in the process of raising their pre-seed financing. They are currently pre-revenue, but already have a ton of traction with 28,000 registered users and 5,000 service providers. (

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