BY TOM JACKSON
MEST Express is one of three programmes, alongside Pre-MEST and MEST Scale, that MEST is running in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation.
The 20-week accelerator programme aims to equip early-stage ventures with the skills and resources they require to accelerate their growth, and offers free training, mentorship, resources, and support to participating startups.
All participating startups will receive upfront equity-free grant funding of US$5,000. At the end of the programme, startups in each cohort will have the opportunity to participate in a pitching session where top-performing ventures will receive up to US$20,000 in equity-free grant funding.
“Our next cohort for the MEST Express accelerator is focused on sustainable startups because solving core problems in Africa often involves looking at how we can create sustainable solutions that positively impact our communities. Sustainability opens up a unique opportunity for African entrepreneurs, as it confronts real problem areas with high visibility and universal interest. The fundamental nature of the problems addressed, guarantee the markets are sizeable and present opportunities to merge impact with profitability,” said Femi Adewumi, director of programmes at MEST Africa.
“After two years of running six cohorts and supporting several startups, our findings also show that ventures benefit more when the support we offer is bespoke and addresses the unique challenges of each business. As such, this upcoming cohort will offer startups deeper support where specific projects will be instituted and managed throughout the program to address the unique needs of the venture.”
Since launching in September 2020, the programme has accelerated more than 50 early-stage ventures and awarded over US$100,000 in equity-free funding to 12 startups in Ghana. Recently, the programme launched its very first cohort in Kumasi, in partnership with hapaSpace, following the success of its first partner cohort in Tamale with HOPin Academy.