ACCRA, Ghana—September 18, 2019 — Applications for a fully-sponsored seat in MEST Africa’s 1-year entrepreneurial training program in Accra, Ghana are now open for aspiring entrepreneurs from across the African continent. Interested applicants have until February 7th, 2020 to apply for the MEST Class of 2021. Successful applicants will receive in-depth training and mentorship, a chance to break into the Pan-African tech ecosystem and the opportunity to build the next generation of global software companies alongside successful graduates likeKweza’s Ropafadzo Musvaire, Saada’s Faderr Johm, Massira’s Samirah Maison, Cofundie’sZahra Faye, MeQasa’s Kelvin Nyame, Amplify’s Segun Adeyemi and more.
“There are so many opportunities to make a difference through entrepreneurship and technology,” said Gugulethu Kheswa, a part of the MEST Class of 2020 from South Africa. “I have chosen to come to MEST to take the skills and work experience I have to the next level while doing something I am passionate about.”
Improving on its truly Pan-African cohort from the Class of 2019, the new MEST class is once again the most diverse yet, representing entrepreneurs from 14 African nations, the highest number of countries in representation so far, up from 12 in the previous year.
The MEST Training Program actively recruits from five markets; Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, and Cote d’Ivoire. In previous years, the cohort has been made up of entrepreneurs from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Côte d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Cameroon, The Gambia, Somalia, Sudan, and Mali. The Class of 2020 welcomes for the first time ever, entrepreneurs-in-training (EITs) from The Republic of Congo, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Botswana, Uganda, and Benin.
Over the course of 1 year, successful applicants will come to MEST HQ in Accra, Ghana and take part in an intensive entrepreneurial training program centred around business, communication, and software development. The training is delivered by global experts and includes extensive hands-on project work, as well as mentorship from successful entrepreneurs, CEOs and other executives from Silicon Valley, Europe, and Africa. The program culminates in an investor pitch for seed funding and the opportunity to grow their business out of one of the Pan-African MEST incubators in Lagos, Accra, Cape Town, and Nairobi.
“The MEST Africa Training Program is proud to be the largest ideation program offered to Pan-African entrepreneurs. Bringing a diversity of founders together is the key to the success of Training Program graduates and the many accomplishments they and their companies have gone on to have,” said MEST Managing Director, Ashwin Ravichandran.
“This year, we are working have our most diverse class yet, focusing on growing our current 14 country representation to even more across the African continent.”
“MEST Africa believes talent is everywhere, but the opportunity is not. By working with some of the continent’s most motivated entrepreneurs, the MEST Training Program is a pivotal part of their journey providing training, and as their ideas form into full-fledged startups, the opportunity for MEST Seed Funding and support through joining one of the MEST Incubators.”
Establishing and expanding its presence on the continent over the past 10 years, MEST has now invested over $22 million in training nearly 400 individual entrepreneurs and invested in 60+ early-stage software companies from across Africa. MEST entrepreneurs have developed solutions addressing local, regional and global markets, received follow-on funding from global investors, and been admitted to top accelerator programs such as Y-combinator, 500 startups, and TechStars.
Some MEST portfolio successes include:
- Qisimah, the first MEST-funded company with a South African CEO, selected as theBest National Digital Solution for the International World Summits Award in Business andCommerce
- Asoriba, the church management startup that’s swept through West Africa, partnered with payments giant, Interswitch and has been featured on CNN, BBC, Forbes
- Meqasa, Ghana’s number one real-estate portal which went on to raise $500,000 fromFrontier Digital Ventures and acquire Jumia House in Ghana.
- Kudobuzz, an advertising and marketing software, which was selected as one of the 14ventures to represent Africa at the 2017 edition of PitchDrive, and recently acquiredMEST-backed company AdGeek.
- SynCommerce, a startup helping customers sell across channels and keep inventory in sync, that won the gaming and entertainment category at TechCrunch in Nairobi.
- Amplify, a payments gateway company for merchants acquired by Nigerian fintech OneFi.
- CodeLn a marketplace that offers a database of pre-vetted programmers and recruitment; and one of the 15 finalists of the TechCrunch Africa Battlefield
- Truckr, a secure and centralized online marketplace that enables listing and booking of third-party trucks winning the N1 million grand prize at TechCircle’s Pitch2Win competition, 2019.
- Jumeni, a cloud-based field management software that is making it easier to schedule and assign tasks to field workers recently pitched at SeedStars Ghana.
- Leti Arts, a mobile games and comics company that presents stories of African superheroes, and recently created MTN Ghana’s Hott seat.
The Application Process
- Complete the application form
- Qualified applicants are asked to complete an aptitude test
- Successful applicants are contacted for a phone interview
- Top candidates in each region will be invited for an in-person interview in Accra, Lagos,Johannesburg, Cape Town, Nairobi, or Abidjan
- Applications for the class of 2021 close February 7, 2020