Although I spent less than a week in Medellin Colombia for the 2016 Global Entrepreneur Summit, it was an amazing experience for me. Arriving in Colombia, I had a quick night of rest before events started on Monday 12th. When the conference started the next morning, I quickly got settled and got the chance to meet the other challengers in Future Agro Challenge. I was very happy that Evaptainers interested a lot of startups, some of whom even offered to do pilot tests for us (Sudan, Kyrgyz Republic, Pakistan, Russia, Chili, Colombia, Saudi Arabia). The FAC startups shared a lot of great ideas and began preparing together for the pitching event. We also had one-to-one mentoring sessions, where I got the chance to meet 4 mentors who gave me great feedback on our product and business plan.
Tuesday was the big day. The morning started with a networking and conference event where I heard speeches from people like Larry Alder from Google, who gave us a vision of what the future holds for technologies and entrepreneurship. In the afternoon, we all went through the pre-pitch preparation, learning about the new “Get in The Ring” competition format where startups face each other one-on-one to try to convince judges they were the best startup. After spending the afternoon rehearsing, it was finally show time. I first faced the team in Kyrgyzstan and eventually went to compete against CropX from Israel on stage. With the support of everybody, we prevailed and made it to the final battle of the Future Agro Challenge. For the Final battle, we were led into another room that was packed with conference attendees, bright lights, cameras, people cheering and a big ring in the middle for the pitch. I was definitely really stressed during the pitch, but ultimately we finished second place overall. I was happy that Nicolas (Vacuch) won the grand prize - they deserved it. We headed to a party after that where I got a lot of cheering and encouragement and collected many business cards and I had a good time with the FAC organizes and other startups from around the world. Some even proposed to help Evaptainers further and planned to invite us to coming events.
That experience was really a great challenge for me and I’m happy to have reached 2nd and improved my pitching skills. The rest of the time, I visited Medellin and discovered a very beautiful city with interesting experiences on how to raise the living standards by linking people with transportation and access to culture and entrepreneurship. I also went to Guatape, a beautiful village nearby with amazing view and traditional restaurants. Heading back to Morocco, I felt that I learned a lot and made a lot of wonderful friends and contacts.