BY TOM JACKSON
The Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) has invested a combined US$700,000 in seven tech startups formed by graduates from its entrepreneurial training programme.
Launched in 2008, MEST is a pan-African training programme, seed fund and incubator for technology entrepreneurs in Africa, providing critical skills training in software development, business and communications.
Headquartered in Accra, Ghana, the organisation runs an annual programme, and then invests in startups formed by its graduates. Its 12th edition, which featured a cohort of 54 entrepreneurs from all over the continent, has just concluded, with MEST announcing it has invested US$100,000 each into a total of seven startups after 15 teams pitched their ideas at a virtual demo day.
The startups that received funding were food delivery startup Ghanaian Heny, Ghanaian retail-tech platform Shopa, Nigerian e-wallet service Joovlin, Ghanaian cloud-based monitoring and evaluation platform KPI Lens, customer on-boarding platform Kenyan Eleka, delivery service Ghanaian Boxconn, and Ghanaian reselling service Tendo.
“We are blown away by the perseverance and talent we have seen in our entrepreneurs this year, as it has been a year filled with unexpected twists and turns,” said MEST managing director Ashwin Ravichandran.
“This was the first time our entrepreneurs were trained mostly virtually and away from our campus, and I am proud to say they have come out stronger than ever. We are incredibly excited about the seven companies we have decided to invest in and look forward to continuing our support and mentorship as they launch their businesses across the continent. Our pan-African network of hubs and partners will allow the companies to position themselves in the best possible market for their entry and future expansion.”
This year’s funded startups join more than 40 companies currently in incubation as part of MEST Africa’s portfolio across Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa, and the graduating class joins over 400 alumni across the continent. Since its inception, the Meltwater Foundation has invested US$22 million into MEST. Last year, 11 startups secured a total of US$1.1 million in investment.