MEST seeks early-stage South African startups to fund

The Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) announces its formal expansion into South Africa and is now accepting South Africans into their next cohort, for the first time in the program’s history.

Established in 2008, MEST provides training, investment and incubation to aspiring tech entrepreneurs in Africa and with bridges to Silicon Valley, where the organization's headquarters in based and where there are several members of the MEST management team who help connect African entrepreneurs with US investors and corporates. Since its inception, MEST has invested $20 million in supporting African entrepreneurs.

MEST is currently looking for South African techies and entrepreneurs to join its next dynamic cohort of trainees, with the opportunity to receive funding for 1.) a startup idea you already have or 2.) a new idea that you come up with during the one-year program, which takes place in Accra, Ghana and begins September 2016.

Who the program is geared toward:

  • Are you an aspiring entrepreneur with a brilliant idea for a tech startup?
  • Do you already have an idea and need assistance taking it to the next level?
  • Don't have a business idea yet but you know you want to be an entrepreneur and don't know how to go about becoming one?

If the answer to any of the above is YES, please consider applying to MEST, an early stage seed fund for African entrepreneurs that invests in people even before they have an idea.

Take part in the one-year entrepreneurial program in Ghana, where you can immerse yourself in a new market and learn about expanding your business across Africa and internationally.

How it works:

MEST works with individuals from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and starting this year, South Africa, who are passionate about technology improving the lives of Africans.

MEST provides 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, individuals form into teams, develop a product, write business plans, and craft their investor pitches,”says Katie Sarro, Managing Director, MEST. “And if you already have a business idea, we'll work with you to fine-tune your idea, fix bugs in your product, revitalize your go-to-market strategy and open up our global network of VCs, angel investors and corporates.”

The strongest and most promising concepts receive between $50,000 to $250,000 USD in equity investment, to support the launch of these new businesses.

During this time, MEST covers housing, food, tuition in Ghana and air travel ticket costs to and from Ghana in order to ensure that individuals can focus completely on becoming world-class entrepreneurs during their year in Ghana.

To date, the MEST Incubator has invested in over 25 companies with $50,000-$250,000 USD initial seed funding and backed more than 75 co-founders.

“MEST companies have developed solutions addressing global markets,  received outside follow-on funding from global investors, and have gained admittance to top accelerator programs such as 500 Startups, TechStars and Y-Combinator,” says Sarro. “This is where our ties and roots in Silicon Valley (and access to 55 other Meltwater offices around the globe) play a huge role in supporting startups for the long term, global stage.”

MEST entrepreneurs have also received prestigious press mentions and awards from the likes of Forbes, Al Jazeera,CNN, TechCrunch, Wall Street Journal, BBC and MarketWatch.

MEST will also be expanding the reach of its incubator program, with new incubators launching in Lagos and Nairobi set to launch this year–and Cape Town and Johannesburg in early 2017.  

 “The scope and resources of our Pan-African incubator network is a unique value prop and one of a kind on the continent,” says Sarro. “Our entrepreneurs will now have the ability to launch startups in their home countries, after completing the one year training program in Ghana, while also allowing our current portfolio companies to more easily access new markets.”

MEST plans to have strategic corporate partners in each market, who assist, support and promote its program entry into new cities. This expansion enables a clear network effect amongst MEST’s points of presence and helps empower MEST portfolio companies to reach broader audiences of potential consumers, clients and partners.  

Deadline to apply for South African candidates is June 20. All selected candidates will begin the MEST program in Accra in September.



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