Africa’s Largest Incubator Selects 5 Regional Winners In Pan-African Startup Pitch Contest

Africa’s Largest Incubator Selects 5 Regional Winners In Pan-African Startup Pitch Contest

Ivorian startup Seekewa is the first crowdfunding platform dedicated to smallholder farmers in Africa, and it’s one of five African startups selected as regional winners of the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology annual Africa challenge.

Winners get to compete for up to $50,000 in equity investment from the Ghana-based MEST accelerator, as well as space in a MEST incubator in Accra, Lagos or Cape Town, according to MEST.

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The finals will be held June 10-12 at the 2019 MEST Africa Summit in Nairobi, Kenya. 

Based in Ghana, the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology is a training program, seed fund and Africa’s largest tech incubator.

More than 1,000 initial applications were received. Five startups, one each from South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and Ivory Coast, were selected as the best, according to Ventureburn.

AMPZ.TV, an online platform that is described as the “LinkedIn for sports”, was selected as the winner from the Nigerian contest. The platform aims to connect talented sportsmen and women with people who can help them advance their careers.

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Africa's largest incubator
MEST Africa Challenge Lagos Regional Winner – AMPZ.TV. Photo – MEST

The Ghanaian winner was OZÉ, a data insights company that helps businesses make data-driven financial decisions and achieve growth to improve their performance.

Snode Technologies is the South African startup that will contest the final in June. The platform provides real-time cyber security for individuals and businesses.

Kenya’s WayaWaya is a fintech company that provides the ability for individuals and businesses to make transactions into and within Africa, according to Techmoran.

Seekewa, an Ivorian startup, is a crowdfunding platform that allows internet users and companies from all over the world to support small agricultural projects in Africa through a voucher system.

The Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology has links throughout Africa, and since launching in 2008 the incubator has already invested over $20 million in African startups, reports GhanaWeb.

Mor than 350 individual entrepreneurs have graduated from the training program and 30-plus tech startups have been launched via seed funding and mentorship courtesy of the incubator.

In 2018, Nigerian cloud accounting platform Accounteer won the inaugural MEST Africa Challenge organized by the incubator, beating three other finalists to the $50,000 investment, according to DisruptAfrica.

The startup offers accounting and payroll management software that is specifically developed with the needs of African small and medium businesses in mind.

Africa’s largest incubator continues to expand

In addition to the flagship incubator in Accra, the MEST launched two spaces in Lagos, Nigeria and Cape Town, South Africa, in November 2017, according to ITNewsAfrica.

A Kenyan space was added to Nairobi in 2018.

Entrepreneurs in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Ivory Coast have benefited from the Accra incubator, with the likes of Kudobuzz, meQasa, Tress, ClaimSync and Saya Mobile finding success with the support of the incubator.