Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) has ended its regional startup competition as part of the bigger MEST Africa Challenge 2019. From the regional contest, MEST Africa chose 5 winners to move on to the next phase. The grand prize of the startup challenge is $50,000 in equity investment.
Also, the finalists will get slots in MEST Africa incubators of their choice, anywhere in Africa. As well, the winners will gain global mentorship to up their company scale.
Only 10 out of the nearly 1,000 applicants from all over the continent were selected to pitch their startups at the regional level. The regional contests took place in Abidjan, Accra, Cape Town, Lagos, and Nairobi. The contests happened on February 27 and 28.
The finalists of the regional contest will go on to pitch their startups on a global stage. That will happen at the 4th MEST Africa Summit. The summit will take place in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi. It is scheduled to happen from June 10 to June 12, where the overall winner will be picked.
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Winners of the MEST Africa regional startup contest
Including the finalists chosen from the regional contest are:
Ghana – OZÉ: This is a data insights company that helps businesses make financial evaluations driven by carefully collected data to achieve growth to improve performance.
Nigeria – AMPZ.TV: This startup is touted as the ‘LinkedIn for Sports’. It is developing the next generation of super footballers in Africa through technology.
South Africa – Snode Technologies: From South Africa, this is a platform that provides real-time cyber-security for businesses and individuals.
Kenya – WayaWaya: A fintech company. It offers smooth transactions within Africa and into Africa for businesses and individuals.
Cote d’Ivoire – Seekewa: Finally from the Ivory Coast is also a financing platform. Seekewa offers a platform that allows Internet users and companies from all over the world to support small agricultural projects in Africa via its voucher system.
Remarks of the judges
The regional contests had a remarkable attendance according to Tech Nova. Judges for the regional challenge included top industry players in the tech and entrepreneurial world. The panel of judges included representatives from MTN, Microsoft, Ventures Platform and Meltwater itself.
Some of them are Kola Aina, Founding Partner at Ventures Platform and Soromfe Uzomah, Head of Strategic Partnerships (Africa Initiatives – 4Afrika) at Microsoft.
Abdul Latif Issahaku is the Data & Devices Manager at MTN Ghana and Shaper & Founding Curator at the World Economic Forum. He was one of the judges at the regional finals in Accra. Issahaku said the contest had “Amazing talent exhibited by the participating scale-up companies.”
He continued, “I am thrilled to find new and exciting business models emerging from the pitches. These will definitely make waves in the future.”
Managing Director for MEST Africa, Aaron Fu, said the finalists are able to get where they are because they have good revenue growth. He also promised that the winning startups had the potential to expand soon.
“The winning start-ups stood out as a result of their impressive revenue growth and potential for expansion. There has been a growing number of companies who have managed to scale in a variety of sectors; so this investment will be vital in aiding these companies to join this expanding group.”
The winning startup from the finals will become the second company to join MEST Africa without going through the MEST Training Program. It will join the winning startup from last year, Accounteer. It is a Nigerian smart accounting platform. Since joining MEST Africa, Accounteer has been able to expand into Kenya. Also, MEST Africa has helped the company to raise more funding.