The 2020 MEST Africa Challenge is thrilled to announce the country final winners who will be competing in the Finale on the 12th of August, for $50,000 in funding, prizes from partners and bragging rights as ‘Africa’s future tech giant ’.
This year’s competition has been a historic one, with the entire event being held virtually, and over eighty tech startups pitching from nine Africa countries. The expansion of the competition to other regions is a part of MEST’s vision to support more startups in need of funding, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Each of the competing countries had an entire week dedicated to its finals, complete with a unique set of judges well versed in both the local and global tech ecosystems. And in one of the most breathtaking displays of ingenuity, innovation, and technological expertise, these startups emerged as 2020’s country winners:
Debo Engineering (Ethiopia): An integrated engineering firm with a focus on emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, ML, Big Data analysis, mobile computing, and other disciplines related to engineering. They design, analyze, develop, and implement smart business applications for the agricultural, transportation, health, and educational sectors.
Fundis (Kenya): A peer to peer platform that helps customers find & hire competent, vetted, and reliable local service professionals. They aim to solve the problem of Africa’s disorganized and fragmented informal sector by bringing craftsmen and local artisans together on one platform and making them easily accessible.
Tutoo+ (Côte d’Ivoire): An innovative e-learning platform that provides a disruptive education on cutting-edge technologies and entrepreneurial skills in Francophone Africa. Their solution is meant to address the increased availability of jobs in the ICT sector versus the inadequacy of skilled labour available to fill those roles. Tutoo+ is digitally re-orienting today’s youth to prepare for tomorrow.
BAG Innovation (Rwanda): A startup committed to preparing Africa’s future workforce by applying gamification to offer real-time access to experience-based learning for University students in East Africa. Their platform helps graduates in Rwanda acquire skills that will give them the exposure they need to work in their chosen fields while still in the University. Collaborating with the creator of the global game phenom, ‘Candy Crush’, Bag Innovation has also created a game that increases retention, conversion, and engagement among students.
Oniocha Ltd (Ghana): A web-based platform improving the literary space in Africa by making access to books quick and easy. They help individuals buy, sell, and swap books. In the next five years, they also aim to publish and distribute books through their platform.
Kilimo Fresh Foods Africa Limited (Tanzania): A startup developing digital farming solutions including online produce distribution platforms and providing access to refrigerators and cold storage for farm produce. Their goal is to develop systems that allow farmers to earn a higher income from their yield.
Moussa Africa (Senegal): A technology startup creating digital and financial inclusion platforms to develop the socio-economic lives of Africans by reinventing the way microfinance works. They assist businesses with working capital and goods on credit while working in partnership with supply companies to provide raw materials at affordable prices to their clients.
Gradely (Nigeria): A personalized online learning platform that harnesses the power of data and AI to help schools and parents access the learning gaps of their children in real-time. Their online sessions offer AI-assisted assessments and the ability to view student progress.
PopUpShopShop (South Africa): An online marketplace connecting brands to great spaces in shopping centres and high street locations for short or long term rentals. Their platform is an easy to use tool that simplifies the administration of commercial short term leases and offers a suite of tailored shopfitting solutions to make popping up easy.
In another exciting move, this year’s competition is introducing a new element – the ‘Community Choice Vote’ – which gives viewers the opportunity to vote for their favorite startup live during the finale, and reward the winner with access to the MEST Community and its benefits.
The MEST Africa Challenge is a collaborative effort, with global tech giant, Microsoft, as the lead partner, and support from a network of ecosystem partners including VC4A, AfriLabs, YUX, Briter Bridges, Blue Moon, Founders Factory Africa, Silicon Cape, Gebeya, Nailab, Royal Work Hub, Growth Africa, Nairobi Garage, Swahili Box, 250 Startups, Impact Hub Kigali, KLab, Ghana Tech Lab, Hacklab Foundation, Move Me Back, SBIncubator, Seedstars, GrowthLab, Levers in Heels, Robotech Labs, Africarena, Impact Hub Lagos, Take My Word and She Leads Africa.