MEST is growing! After establishing its presence in 4 African countries, starting from Ghana, the world-renowned tech school is moving into Ivory Coast. This is the first entry into a french-speaking country since opening in 2008. This breaks the language barrier, and increases the possibilities for a wider expansion into the rest of Africa.
The news will be publicly announced at the Africa Web Festival in Côte d’Ivoire, taking place 30th November- 1st December, in front of 6,000 attendees. Throughout the week, MEST is also hosting recruitment sessions for the next cohort of EITs.
MEST is organizing info sessions 30th November – 1st December 2016 in Abidjan, in conjunction with Africa Web Festival taking place at the Rue du Lycée Technique Abidjan Cocody. MEST’s Head of Partnerships, Celine Duros, will be speaking on Wednesday 30th from 12.30pm to 2.20 pm at the conference lunch: “A small start up will become big, …but not alone”. It will be an opportunity to learn more about MEST’s plans to support tech entrepreneurs from Côte d’Ivoire.
In each of the countries MEST has expanded into, they have had incubators where entrepreneurs from the program can work from, considering that that model has immensely helped the companies to grow as they learn from each other and share similar yet diverse startup stories and challenges. This will be the same for the Cote d’Ivoire expansion. However, all of the training program period will be spent in Ghana, for 1 year, as it has always been.
Within the MEST Program, admitted applicants receive a full scholarship to a one-year entrepreneurial training program that blends an MBA-type education with hands-on training in software development. During the program, students form teams, develop a software product, write business plans, and craft investor pitches. The strongest and most promising business concepts receive between $50,000 to $100,000 USD in equity investment to support the launch of their businesses.
Teams that receive investment enter the MEST Incubator, where they receive continued hands-on support as they launch and grow their businesses. To date, the MEST Incubator has invested in over 25 companies and backed more than 75 co-founders. These companies have developed solutions addressing local and global markets, created jobs locally, received outside follow-on funding from global investors, and gained admittance to top accelerator programs such as 500 Startups, Y Combinator and TechStars, Katie Sarro explained in the official press release.
If you have paid any attention to tech growth across the continent, you must have heard of the KINGS (Kenya, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa), a group of five countries who are at the forefront of the tech ecosystem across Africa. This term has been much propagated by Eric Osiakwan, tech speaker and serial investor.
Considering that MEST has made entry into all 5 countries, it’s a wonder where next the school will take steps towards. This seems a good move in the right direction. Go MEST!