MEST Africa has announced the launch of applications for its second annual MEST Africa Challenge, a Pan-African pitch competition for scale-ups based in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa or Cote d’Ivoire who are ready to expand into new markets.
This year’s finalists from each country will attend the MEST Africa Summit in Nairobi, Kenya, June 10-12, 2019, where they will once again compete on a global stage for up to $50k in equity investment and the opportunity to join the Pan-African MEST incubator community.
“This year we’re looking for the continent’s most exciting African scale-ups who are ready to expand into new markets, and continue building world-class solutions for African problems,” said MEST Managing Director, Aaron Fu.
The team at MEST, along with this year’s platinum sponsor Microsoft, looks forward to hosting the second edition of the Challenge FInals at the 2019 MEST Africa Summit, which will bring together leading African and global entrepreneurs, investors, corporate partners and ecosystem players in its newest home, Nairobi, Kenya.
“We are excited to partner with MEST,” said Microsoft Senior Director, Chris Lwanga. “At Microsoft our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. We firmly believe that innovation is the birthright of every human being and look forward to seeing first hand the amazing innovation coming from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Cote d’Ivoire.”
The inaugural MEST Africa Challenge in 2018 saw over 700 applications across four markets, out of which 40 made it into the regional finals in Accra, Lagos, Nairobi and Cape Town.
One representative from each of team was flown to Cape Town, where they presented in front of a jury of judges from Facebook, MTN, and Meltwater, as well as the Summit’s global audience of investors, Pan-African entrepreneurs, and corporate leaders. Accounteer, a Nigeria-based cloud accounting company, took home the first prize including $50,000 USD in equity investment and a space in the MEST Incubator Lagos.
Niyi Adegboye, the Senior Business Developer at Accounteer who presented the winning pitch in 2018, said of his experience:
“It was an amazing experience participating in the MEST Africa Challenge 2018. Being the regional winner gave me the poise that Accounteer would emerge as the winner in South Africa, and the trip to Cape Town was superb. Accounteer is proud to be a part of the MEST portfolio today. ” Since winning the Challenge, Accounteer has expanded from Nigeria into Kenya, and has received follow-on funding from Microtraction.
Applications for this year’s challenge will be open from January 14th – February 15th, 2019. Find out more about the Challenge and apply here. If you are a post-revenue tech business, in any vertical, who can show why you should be taken seriously as a leader in your space, you are encouraged to apply. Top companies in each region will be invited to pitch at regional events in Accra, Nairobi, Lagos, Cape Town and Abidjan.
Regional pitch events will be held on the following dates, at MEST Incubator locations or local partners office:
Accra: Wednesday, February 27
Nairobi: Wednesday, February 27
Lagos: Thursday, February 28
Cape Town: Thursday, February 28
Abidjan: Thursday, February 28
Operate in the market in which they are applying
Be primarily tech-focused
For more than 10 years, have trained aspiring African entrepreneurs and invested in exceptional businesses with Pan-African ambitions. These businesses have gone on to enter new markets, with MEST growing alongside them as we’ve learned about the opportunities and challenges they face as they scale. Today, they is the continent’s largest incubator network, present in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa and Cote d’Ivoire.
Apply here for the 2019 MEST Africa challenge.