Renowned African Incubator MEST Celebrates 10 Years With $700,000 Investment



By Toby Shapshak,

To celebrate its 10th anniversary of investing in African tech startups, the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) has announced seven companies who will receive $700,000 in funding.

MEST was one of the earliest tech incubators in Africa, having started an entrepreneurial school in Accra, Ghana, in 2008. MEST is part of Meltwater, the global social media monitoring firm that was itself a notable startup. Founder and CEO Jorn Lyseggen started it with $15,000 in Norway in 2001; and it’s now believed to be a $300-million a year business.

Last year MEST hired the respected Aaron Fu as its managing director and opened incubators in Cape Town and Lagos.

Its 2018 cohort – 17 startups from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Cote d’Ivoire and Zimbabwe – have recently graduated from its year-long training program and the seven startups will each receive $100,000 from MEST.

“It’s been an exhilarating ride scaling MEST in Africa and this year has absolutely reaffirmed my conviction that MEST is truly unique in Africa in both approach and perspective,” MEST Managing Director Aaron Fu told me. “Our primary pathway to both our incubators and our seed fund uniquely begins pre-idea and pre-team, we equip our Entrepreneurs-In-Training (EITs) with a baseline of skills and industry exposure both most importantly with a cohort of 59 other handpicked individuals driven to create Pan-African, if not global, technology businesses. We also de-risk a year of learning and testing with a full scholarship and rigorous, practical curriculum.”

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