MEST Africa Challenge announces the top 5 finalists going into the  final stage of the competition

MEST Africa has announced Sproutly (Nigeria), Kweli (Senegal), Swoove (Ghana), Hisa (Kenya) and Desert Green Africa (South Africa) as the startups who will be into the grand finale of the 2022 MEST Africa Challenge pitch competition. 

The pan-African pitch competition opened applications in July this year for pre-seed and seed-stage technology startups in Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Kenya, and South Africa to bid for the ultimate prize of $50,000.

After going through the online application, regional pitches, and founder interview phases of the competition, these 5 finalists have been selected for the final pitch. Each startup will represent their country at the Demo Day and Final Pitch Competition that will be held in Accra Ghana in December 2022. 

Speaking on the selection of the top 5 startups, the Director of Portfolio at MEST Africa, Melissa Nsiah said:

“It hasn’t been an easy process. Mostly because, this year, we saw so many valid business models and met some incredible founders with huge visions that align very closely with ours. But in the final analysis we were able to zero in on the cream of the crop to select the top 5 companies from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Senegal and South Africa in alignment with this year’s selection criteria. Our team is eager to work closely with each of the 5 finalists in preparation towards the final competition day in December.” 

Here are details of the startups who have made it in the 2022 MEST Africa Challenge:

Sproutly Inc (Nigeria)

Digital Banking, Tuition Financing for Teens & Students and Payments, Education Management and Credits for Schools. Learn more https://sproutlyhq.com/ 

Kwely Inc (Senegal)

An innovative made-in-Africa B2B brand incubation and digital distribution platform. 

Swoove Inc (Ghana)

Swoove is a last mile delivery and fulfillment tech startup beuilding ecommmerce infrastructure for SME’s and commerce companies on the continent. Learn more https://www.swoove.delivery 

Hisa Inc (Kenya)

Building the tech infrastructure for investing in Africa. Learn more: https://hisa.co/ 

Desert Green Africa Agri-Investments (South Africa)

Desert Green is an Agritech transforming the Informal Agri-value chain in Africa by providing a more efficient delivery of Fresh produce from small scale farmers to informal traders. Learn more www.desertgreen.co.za

MEST will provide the winning startup with investment capital to the amount of $50,000, coaching and access to a global network of resources and partners as they build and scale successful businesses that add value to African economies and livelihoods.

All participating startups will have the opportunity to benefit from a host of exciting perks from MEST Africa and its strategic partners including global visibility, building their networks, professional coaching, mentorship from experts, and the opportunity to join the global MEST community for lifetime benefits.

About the 2022 MEST Africa Challenge 

In its fourth year, MAC 2022 is a call for technology startups in 5 African markets – Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Senegal, and South Africa to vie for the ultimate prize of USD 50,000 in equity investment. Finalists will gain exclusive access to the MEST Community including expert business coaches and mentors, global investors, and a wide selection of perk prizes and packages contributed by MEST partners across the continent. Finalists from each country will attend the MEST Africa Demo Day in Accra, Ghana on December 1st, 2022, where they will once again compete on a global stage for up to $50,000 in equity investment and the opportunity to join the MEST Portfolio and global community.

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.

About MEST Africa:

MEST is a pan-African software and entrepreneurship training program, seed fund, and incubator helping to launch technology startups across the continent. Founded in Ghana in 2008 by serial entrepreneur Jorn Lyseggen, MEST is a 12-month program that provides critical skills training in software development, business, and communications to Africa’s burgeoning tech talent. MEST provides seed funding for the best ideas coming out of the program and continues to support the growth and development of its portfolio companies. 

To date, MEST has trained 1000s of entrepreneurs from across the continent and invested in over 80 startups across industries from Agritech, Fintech, SaaS, eCommerce, Digital Media, and Healthcare amongst others. MEST is fully funded by the Meltwater Foundation, the non-profit arm of the Norwegian company Meltwater; a global leader in social and media intelligence headquartered in San Francisco. Learn more at www.meltwater.org 

Media Contact: Leila@meltwater.org 

 

MEST Africa Challenge 2022: Here are the shortlisted startups going into the regional competition stage

MEST Africa has announced a shortlist of 36 qualified technology startups from 5 African countries who will be going into the regional pitch competition stage of the 2022 MEST Africa Challenge.

The Next Stage of the Competition

MEST has shared some key updates on the MEST Africa Challenge and  the upcoming regional competitions. 

The regional competition stage will see the shortlisted startups placed into 4 main pitching groups that will participate in virtual pitch competitions scheduled to take place between 10th and 13th October 2022. Each pitch competition will be adjudicated by a panel of expert judges from around the continent. 

From the regional pitch stage, 10 finalists will be selected for the next stage, which will consist of  individual interviews with the company  founders. Following the interview stage, 5 startups will be selected, one from each market, to come to Ghana for the Final Pitch Competition and Demo Day.

Speaking on the selection process and changes to the regional competitions, the Director of Portfolio at MEST Africa Melissa Nsiah said:

MAC has been an absolute thrill and we aren’t even at the finals yet! From planning, to launching the actual competition, combing through 100’s of applications, the entire journey to select our top 37 startups to move forward to regional finals has been an exciting learning curve. Moving forward from last year’s fully virtual competition, I am impressed by the planning team’s creative approach in merging both virtual and in person pitch styles to widen our audience and deliver the best overall experience for our partners and contestants alike.

Meet the MAC Regional Finalists:

STARTUP SECTOR COUNTRY
Digistore Fintech Ghana
Wala Digital Health Health Tech Ghana
Swoove Inc Logistics Tech Ghana
AppCycling Ghana LTD E-Waste Management & Recycling Ghana
Utopia Technologies Technology Ghana
GAPhealth Technologies Ltd. Health tech Ghana
Synatech Africa Software as a Service Kenya
Nutritech Solutions Health care Kenya
Afriagrimark Enterprise Limited AgriTech Kenya
MOBI-REMIT SOLUTIONS LIMITED Financial Technology Kenya
EASYHOUSE AFRICA Proptech/Fintech/Edtech Kenya
mSwali Mobile gaming Kenya
Hisa Inc Fintech Kenya
ZEDA BROTHERS LTD (Parent Company)/ Helene ERP/Accounting Nigeria
Mytherapist.ng Mental Health Services Mental Health / Wellness Nigeria
Angel’s Radar Financial Services Nigeria
Fostaco Agriculture Nigeria
Bridge Merchant Enterprise Agritech Nigeria
AWI Agricultural Venture Agri-Tech Nigeria
Sanwo Technologies Limited TrustTech Nigeria
ROYALTI DIGITAL MUSIC SOLUTIONS LIMITED Media & Entertainment Nigeria
Niteon LLC Marketplace, Procurement, Logistics, web 3.0 Nigeria
MyFoodAngels AgricTech/FoodTEch Nigeria
Goods and Services 360 Ltd Clean Cooking Nigeria
Sproutly Inc. Fintech/ Edtech Nigeria
KaCyber Technologies ICT (Transport Tech) Senegal
Kweli SAS / Kweli Inc B2B Marketplace Senegal
INSURIS INSURTECH Sénégal
Sodishop E-commerce/ elogistique Senegal
PROXALYS Retail/Ecommerce Senegal
SENDRA (Sénégalaise de Déconstruction et de Recyclage Automobile) CleanTech Senegal
Dots for Inc. Telecommunication and information technology in African rural areas Senegal
Zimi Charge (Pty) Ltd E-Mobility South Africa
Dove Air Inc Healthcare South Africa
Thumel Technologies Logistic South Africa
Desert Green Africa Agri Investments Agritech South Africa

Key benefits of the program:

  • Funding of up to $50,000 for the winning startup
  • Perk prizes from MEST’s Strategic Partners
  • Global visibility
  • Opportunity to build your networks
  • Professional coaching
  • Mentorship from experts
  • Opportunity to join the global MEST Community for lifetime benefits

Learn more and follow the journeys of the selected startups here

About the 2022 MEST Africa Challenge 

In its fourth year, MAC 2022 is a call for technology startups in 5 African markets – Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Senegal and South Africa to vie for the ultimate prize of USD 50,000 in equity investment. Finalists will gain exclusive access to the MEST Community including expert business coaches and mentors, global investors and a wide selection of perk prizes and packages contributed by MEST partners across the continent. Finalists from each country will attend the MEST Africa Demo Day in Accra, Ghana on December 1st 2022, where they will once again compete on a global stage for up to $50,000 in equity investment and the opportunity to join the MEST Portfolio and global community.

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.

About MEST Africa:

MEST is a pan-African software and entrepreneurship training program, seed fund, and incubator helping to launch technology startups across the continent. Founded in Ghana in 2008 by serial entrepreneur Jorn Lyseggen, MEST is a 12-month program that provides critical skills training in software development, business, and communications to Africa’s burgeoning tech talent. MEST provides seed funding for the best ideas coming out of the program and continues to support the growth and development of its portfolio companies. 

To date, MEST has trained 1000s of entrepreneurs from across the continent and invested in over 80 startups across industries from Agritech, Fintech, SaaS, eCommerce, Digital Media, and Healthcare amongst others. MEST is fully funded by the Meltwater Foundation, the non-profit arm of the Norwegian company Meltwater; a global leader in social and media intelligence headquartered in San Francisco. Learn more at www.meltwater.org 

Media Contact: Leila@meltwater.org

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.