The MEST Africa Challenge is on for 2022

ACCRA, Ghana, 29th July 2022 – MEST Africa has officially announced the opening of applications for the 2022 MEST Africa Challenge.

Pre-seed to seed stage technology startups in Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Kenya, and South Africa are invited to apply to participate in the regional competitions to be held in these countries in October this year. Two finalists will be selected from each country to participate in the final Demo Day Pitch event to be held in Accra, Ghana for the ultimate prize of $50,000 in equity.  

Entries will be accepted till 30th August 2022 through the competition’s online application portal.

Speaking on the 2022 edition of the competition, MEST Africa’s Director of Portfolio, Melissa Nsiah said, “We are excited to bring back this competition to give more African Startups a platform to showcase and build on their unique value in an era where African startups and innovations are taking center stage and gaining global recognition and investments. We look forward to an invigorating season that will increase the drive towards building better businesses in Africa.” 

Run by pan-African training program, seed fund, incubator and hub, MEST Africa, the MEST Africa Challenge (MAC) is Africa’s go-to pitch competition for technology startups looking to get to the next level of their growth journey. The challenge provides a stage for technology start-ups to raise funding, build industry networks and gain international visibility that would serve them well in growing and expanding their businesses. 

The competition has received thousands of applications from around the continent since its inception. It has spotlighted and impacted the growth of winning startups such as Tanzania’s Kilimo Fresh, Ghana’s OZE, South Africa’s Snode Technologies, Kenya’s Waya Waya, and Nigeria’s Accounteer.

Eligibility Criteria for MAC 2022:

  • Pre-seed or seed-stage (have raised $100k total or less cumulatively since inception)
  • Currently generating revenue 
  • Can demonstrate traction in one or more of the five MAC Markets (Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal)
  • Has been in operation for 2 years or less
  • Tech-enabled (software company)
  • Industry agnostic
  • Any business model (B2B, B2C, B2B2C, B2G etc…)

Key benefits of the program:

  • Funding of up to $50,000
  • Perk prizes from MEST Strategic Partners
  • Global visibility
  • Build your networks
  • Professional coaching
  • Mentorship from experts
  • Join the global MEST Community for lifetime benefits

Learn more and apply here before the 30th August 2022.

Research Report: The Ghanaian Ecosystem of Tech Startups and SMEs

Ghana has been identified as one of the fastest growing economies in Africa with the potential to do much more with its stable political economy, young dynamic population, growing digital adoption and the bankability of its population. These are factors that have also influenced the growth of technology startups and SMEs in the country who have great ambitions to achieve greater scale and impact.

Our latest report on The Ghanaian Ecosystem of Tech Startups and SMEs explores what all players in Ghana’s business and technology ecosystem can do to unleash the full potential of Ghana’s ecosystem with direct impact on the growth of tech startups and SMEs.

The past three years, though challenging in many ways due to COVID 19, has witnessed exponential growth in startup activity, while the SME space in Ghana remains relatively underdeveloped. Both startups and SMEs are not yet close to creating the level of economic transformation witnessed in upper-middle (UMIC) and high-income countries (HIC) and desired in low-income (LIC) and lower-middle-income countries (LMIC).

The report looks to better understand the potential for increased tech entrepreneurship and innovation in Ghana, and addresses three key questions:

  1. What is the current state of the startup and SME ecosystems in Ghana?
  2. What are the main challenges they face?
  3. What opportunities are there to support startups and SMEs to drive socio-economic progress in Ghana?

Our key recommendations from this report are to significantly increase initiatives for startups and SMEs that increase access to relevant capital for startups and SMEs, deep technical and business skills and services, value chain consolidation and proliferation, and relevant and transformational strategic and operational capacity and capabilities.

The data and findings presented in this report are the outcome of several research efforts conducted by MEST to help inform our strategy and design for three new programs that were rolled out in 2020. These three programs are addressing various challenges within the Ghanaian tech ecosystem for startups and SME:

 Pre-MEST: supporting young people to get digital skills so they can gain digitally-enabled work

 MEST Express: supporting early-stage digitally-enabled startups to grow and accelerate.

• MEST Scale: supporting established SMEs to scale.

Technology is no longer a standalone sector, but a critical cornerstone for how work is and will be done in society. Used properly, technology in startups and SMEs have the amazing ability to positively impact people and communities.

Download the full report for free here.

MEST APPOINTS MELISSA NSIAH AS DIRECTOR OF PORTFOLIO

ACCRA, Ghana, 22 June 2022 – MEST, Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology, has announced the appointment of Melissa Nsiah as its new Director of Portfolio.

Previously Program Manager for Stanford Seed West and South Africa, Melissa will be working closely with MEST Africa’s Founder, Jorn Lyseggen, to provide leadership and direction to the MEST portfolio companies, with a key focus on helping the companies with strategies around growth and scale. 

With an extensive background in operations, project management, user experience, and program design, Melissa brings real-world experience in leading businesses, building innovative and effective teams, developing systems, and business coaching. 

Commenting on the appointment, Founder Jorn Lyseggen stated, “Melissa is a unique combination of entrepreneur, executive, and business coach with an in-depth experience from doing business on the African continent as well as the US market. She is mission-driven and cares deeply about the growing tech ecosystem on the African continent. We are honoured to welcome Melissa to the MEST team.” 

Melissa is also a champion of sustainability and STEAM and spends the majority of her time outside of work fundraising for youth STEAM education and advocating for anti-pollution and green initiatives. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Stanford University in Management Science and Engineering with a special focus on the intersection between technology and society.

Africa Startup Funding 101 – Episode 3

Africa Startup Funding 101 – Episode 2