April 22, 2015 – Lagos, Nigeria (Mobile West Africa 2015) – The Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) and Samsung Electronics have partnered in an initiative that will provide more opportunities, resources and tools to West African entrepreneurs, resulting in several areas of positive impact for the tech ecosystem.MEST trains, invests and incubates aspiring African software entrepreneurs, putting them on the path to become globally successful technology entrepreneurs; Samsung’s role will have deep impact at each phase of the MEST program.
MEST recruits top talent from Ghanaian and Nigerian university graduates. Once enrolled, Entrepreneurs-in-Training (EITs) receive a full scholarship to an intensive program that blends hands-on training in software development with business and communications education. During this period, EITs are also tasked with forming new business ideas based on the tech skills they’ve built, with the guidance of teaching fellows and staff.
Samsung will be involved from the early stages, starting with company ideation and pitching processes during the MEST training portion and will support MEST by providing in-kind as well as subsidized devices and tablets that can be used to test out and further develop their solutions. EITs will also have the opportunity to apply for internship positions at Samsung during MEST internship breaks in Lagos, Nigeria campus.
Upon graduating from the MEST training program, EITs stand to receive an initial round of seed funding from MEST (ranging from $50-$250,000) to pursue their business. Investment hinges on EITs’ “final exam” (a business pitch to the board) and is based on specific KPIs as well as the commercial viability of the business idea.
Samsung Enterprise Business Partners in Nigeria will have the opportunity to invest as well as have a minority stake in a new or existing company coming out of MEST.
Teams that receive investment are given subsidized office space, 24/7 electricity and internet, and access to MEST’s global network of advisors comprised of renowned venture capitalists and entrepreneurs from around the globe, all of whom support the distribution, marketing and sales of these newly incubated companies.
Adding to this support, the MEST-Samsung partnership will help open doors for MEST incubator companies – both consumer and B2B focused – to partner on distribution of mobile applications and cross-marketing services.
Samsung will work with MEST-incubated companies and facilitate introductions of market-fit and market-ready MEST startups to Samsung Enterprise Business Partners and Samsung Information and Mobility Business teams to further explore specific commercial and technical partnerships to pilot and scale these products/services through strategic projects addressing market needs in verticals such as Education, Financial Services, Healthcare, Retail, Transportation and Hospitality.
“Entrepreneurs and startups at MEST are developing innovative applications that can add value to end-users in West Africa and promote the adoptions of Samsung products, solutions and services,” says Charles Ojei, Director, Enterprise Business for Samsung Electronics West Africa.
“MEST is among the first in the African continent to both train software entrepreneurs for two years as well as guide them through investment programs that yield actual results. Samsung is very excited to be involved in this full-circle program and look forward to supporting at each phase in a mutually beneficial relationship that is win-win for both parties. The MEST model builds local talent and capacity, enhances the tech ecosystem and also creates sustainable jobs and wealth within the community, and we are proud to be a part of that.”
West African Tech Ecosystem Development
Beyond the training and investment program, MEST also plays an extremely active role in nurturing the nascent but growing space that is the African tech ecosystem, and holds frequent meet-ups, hackathons, and other opportunities for the community to cross-pollinate ideas and resources.
Due to MEST’s role in the developer, technology startup space in West Africa, MEST will help provide Samsung general access and visibility with developers and entrepreneurs in West Africa.
The two organizations plan to roll-out a series of co-sponsored events in Ghana and Nigeria, where new ideas and technology will have the opportunity to prosper.
The first of such events will take place during the next two weeks: MEST and Samsung are formally kicking of their partnership at Mobile West Africa in Lagos, Nigeria. They’ll have a co-branded exhibition booth and will be promoting the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge as well as MEST-incubated Suba, a free mobile app that allows people to share photos at events, giving everyone in attendance access to photos without having to be on a ‘friend’s list.’ View all the MWA event photos on the Suba stream here.
Additionally, MEST is hosting an informational recruitment session and meet-up for Nigerian candidates who wish to be considered for MEST’s next batch of EITs. Interested individuals can apply directly on the MEST website here.
“A major objective for MEST in 2015 is bringing on board strategic partners who can support our mission to empower hundreds of tech entrepreneurs in Africa,” says Neal Hansch, Managing Director, MEST Incubator. “We can’t think of a better or well-equipped partner in the space and are very honored to have Samsung formally join us in our efforts and further catalyze growth in the African tech market.”
Established in 2008, the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) provides training, investment and incubation to aspiring high tech entrepreneurs in Africa and with bridges to Silicon Valley. Since its inception, MEST has invested $15 million in supporting West African entrepreneurs. 200 individual entrepreneurs have graduated from the training program and over 20 tech startups have been launched, via seed funding and mentorship from MEST.
MEST has been recognized as one of Fast Company’s Top 10 “Most Innovative Companies in Africa” in 2015 and is regarded as “one of the largest private investments in Ghanaian economic development” by DFID.
Suba, the official photo sharing app for Mobile West Africa 2015, is a free mobile app that allows people to share photos at events.
Suba is the perfect way to solve a common problem – you’re at an event like MWA and everyone is taking pictures. You’re networking and meeting interesting, new people but you may not be friends with them on Facebook, know their Twitter handle or Instagram name –thus, you may not be able to ever see all the photos taken by everyone in attendance.
Enter Suba – by using Suba’s shared photo streams based on location, everyone can have access to all photos without having to be on a ‘friend’s list.’
Suba is available for iPhone or Android, so make sure to download the app now (www.subaapp.com) and upload all your MWA photos to the stream called Mobile West Africa 2015.
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. inspires the world and shapes the future with transformative ideas and technologies, redefining the worlds of TVs, smartphones, wearable devices, tablets, cameras, digital appliances, printers, medical equipment, network systems, and semiconductor and LED solutions. We are also leading in the Internet of Things space through, among others, our Smart Home and Digital Health initiatives. We employ 307,000 people across 84 countries with annual sales of US $196 billion. To discover more, please visit our official website at www.samsung.com and our official blog at global.samsungtomorrow.com