Startups Win $50,000 at the MEST Africa Pan-African Tech Summit in Nairobi

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Pan-African entrepreneurial training program, seed fund, and incubator MEST Africa, yesterday closed its fourth successful MEST Africa Summit, in partnership with Microsoft. The event saw entrepreneurs, investors, ecosystem players and executives from across Africa and the globe meet to explore innovations and rising stars in the African tech ecosystem. Panelists discussed topics ranging from data in the fintech space, to  the latest in agritech and healthcare, to ways we can cultivate a Pan-African tech ecosystem, and more.

This year’s Summit was held in partnership with Microsoft. Additional sponsors included Liquid Telecom, Africa’s Talking, Oracle, Intel, Lori Systems, Flutterwave, Stratlink, Ethiopian Airlines and a number of ecosystem partners.

The Summit was held at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Nairobi on Conference Day, and the Nairobi Garage, home of MEST Africa’s Nairobi Incubator, on Ecosystem Day – both buzzing atmospheres as more than 300 guests came together.

The day culminated in the finals of the MEST Africa Challenge; an annual Pan-African pitch competition, and ended with a twist. Rather than choosing one winner, the judges awarded $50,000 in equity investment from MEST and $25,000 in credit from Microsoft to each of three startups: Oze from Ghana, Snode Technologies from South Africa and WayaWaya from Kenya.

MEST Africa has been training, supporting and investing in tech entrepreneurs on the continent for more than 10 years. Over 330 individual entrepreneurs have been trained at MEST, and nearly 60 tech companies have been launched via seed funding and mentorship. Five companies have exited, including Amplify Payments Ltd. (Amplify) who was recently acquired by leading Nigerian fintech player, One Finance Limited (OneFi), to further develop the payments ecosystem in Nigeria.

Since its 2008 launch in Accra, Ghana, MEST has been at the forefront of driving some of the continent’s most successful entrepreneurs – pushing them to scale, while achieving Pan-African and global reach and recognition. MEST has invested over $22M to date, with portfolio companies going on to receive follow-on funding.




CoinCola – Person-to-Person (P2P) Bitcoin platform now in Nigeria

Blockchain Technology is rapidly growing in different continents and many more people beginning to see the importance and relevance of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in their different fields of life. Nations and companies are gradually adopting cryptocurrency in exchange for goods and services instead of fiat. However, the African continent seems to be lagging behind in the adoption of this upcoming technology resulting from the lack of political will to accept the risk of innovation (in Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency). This can further be perceived in the reluctance to adopt the use of cryptocurrency in day-to-day transactions.

Though based in Hong Kong, Coincola aims to provide trustworthy trading and exchange services to all its users all around the world with Africa being a key place of interest. Coincola believes that Blockchain technology will be essential to providing secure banking and payment services in the future and also that cryptocurrency will greatly improve the convenience of daily transactions and help to create a world that is financially borderless. Hence, our mission is to “connect everyone to this new digital asset economy.

Coincola is an OTC cryptocurrency marketplace and exchange designed to offer the best cryptocurrency trading experience for users and also offer fast and secure trading services at competitive fees and exchange rates.

In the OTC Marketplace, the trading platform allows people around the world to use their local FIAT currency to buy and sell Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC), Dash (DASH) ,Tether (USDT) and Ripple (XRP). This is done on a person-to-person (P2P) basis. Users can post adverts for free and are only charged a trading fee of 0.7% of the traded amount once the transaction has been completed.

In the exchange market, CoinCola offers Bitcoin (BTC) and Tether (USDT) as base currencies and supports crypto-to-crypto trading pairs with Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Litecoin (LTC).  A trading fee of 0.2% is charged for an exchanged amount. However, there is a fixed withdrawal fee.

At Coincola, security is of utmost priority hence there are multiple layers of security including bank-level encryption, cold storage and SSL, ensuring that customers can trade with 100% confidence.

CoinCola provides an intuitive and easy verification process by building trust and transparency in the Blockchain ecosystem and ensuring compliance using KYC/AML regulations.

A mobile app is available to enable users to transact and trade comfortably while on the move.

Compared to Paxful trading fee which is 5% for every traded amount, CoinCola charges a fee of 0.7%, now, a lot is saved. Trading of your cryptocurrencies can be done via our mobile app or web version however Paxful only has its web version.

CoinCola supports BTC, ETH, LTC, BCH, XRP, USDT, and Dash but Paxful supports only BTC.

Security and users’ satisfaction are our priorities, therefore CoinCola provides a 24/7 full support and inquiry on their platform as well as on their Telegram channel.

We are going into an era where fiat will be one of the least currencies used. Blockchain technology and Cryptocurrency is gradually sipping into different sectors. At CoinCola, our customers are valuable to us, so whether you’re a knowledgeable cryptocurrency investor or a newbie, our platform makes crypto exchange very for you with few clicks and a dedicated support team to guide you whenever you need any form of assistance.

Opportunity: Cellulant Nigeria Hiring for Head of Marketing

Cellulant, a well established digital payments provider and one of the 7 companies that make up the underlying e-Payment infrastructure in Nigeria is currently hiring for the role of Head of Marketing.

The company is looking for someone with 10 years of experience in the market.

Cellulant is tasked with increasing the uptake of e-Commerce, mobile commerce and digital payments in Nigeria. 

Email to learn more: divine.muragijimana (at)

Opportunity: WAAW Foundation is Recruiting for a Business Development Manager

This position is to manage WAAW Foundation fundraising and partnership growth strategies, including business development, sales, and program management for software development projects and STEM training, project planning, management, administrative support to WAAW foundation programs.

The Business Development Manager is responsible for the organization’s consistent achievement of its mission and objectives in program development and financial growth.

  • Build and coordinate the delivery of projects
  • Drive Business Development and sustainability initiatives for new office including:
  • Developing tech hub, an incubator/office sublease initiative
  • Develop new programs to support the strategic direction of the organization
  • Design and send program funding proposals to multiple sponsors and stakeholders
  • Implementing and managing changes to ensure project goals are achieved
  • Assist in identifying new potential partners and engage with clients.
  • Work closely with the WAAW Foundation team to obtain set objectives.
  • Expand STEM teacher training program across other states in Nigeria including Eastern and Western Nigeria.

Apply here: Business Development Manager

Opportunity: WAAW Foundation Seeks Executive Director

The WAAW Foundation is a 501(c) non-profit organization whose mission is to empower girls throughout Africa by increasing the pipeline of girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields.

The WAAW Foundation does the following: provides college scholarships to African girls, organizes STEM Robotics camps and operates STEM outreach and mentoring programs in University campuses across Africa to include Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Togo, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi and South Africa, impacting over 6,000 African girls each year.

WAAW foundation is looking for an experienced Executive Director (minimum of 10 years working experience in development sector or social business management) to oversee all WAAW operations, functions and activities in Africa.

 The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors, and is responsible for WAAW consistent achievement of its mission and financial objectives in program development and administration. 


Leadership and Operational management

  • Participate with the Board of Directors in developing a vision and strategic plan to guide the organization.
  • Assure that WAAW has a long-range strategy which achieves its mission, and toward which it makes consistent and timely progress.
  • Provide leadership in developing program, organizational and financial plans with the Board of Directors and staff, and carry out plans and policies authorized by the board.
  • Identify, assess, and inform the Board of Directors of internal and external issues that affect the organization.
  • Act as a professional advisor to the Board of Director on all aspects of the organization & its activities
  • Draft policies for the approval of the Board and prepare procedures to implement the organizational policies; review existing policies on an annual basis and recommend changes to the Board as appropriate
  • Ensure that personnel, client, donor and volunteer files are securely stored and privacy/confidentiality is maintained
  • Provide support to the Board by preparing meeting agenda and supporting materials.

Serious candidates apply here: WAAW Foundation

New marketplace seeks to expand Africa’s financial ecosystem – Introducing Pocket Money

CEO and Co-Founder of Pocket Money, Stefano Virgili
CEO and Co-Founder of Pocket Money, Stefano Virgili

Pocket Money is a digital lending marketplace determined to transform the financial fortunes of borrowers in Africa by pioneering a ‘cyclic’ lending system that will provide a breath of fresh air even to potential borrowers who had previously been ‘rejected’ by lenders within Pocket Money’s ecosystem.

To address this challenge, Pocket Money has come up with a marketplace that offers a multi-layered solution that ensures that the borrower is introduced to various potential lenders, offering more alternatives that provide the likelihood of a borrower to finally access the loan in the long run.

According to CEO and Co-Founder of Pocket Money, Stefano Virgili, the new marketplace seeks to expand Africa’s financial ecosystem to have a real impact on financial inclusion on the continent. Pocket Money not only benefits lenders, borrowers and investors; it also helps borrowers to pay back their loans through the use of innovative interoperability payment systems.

Through the new technology, a borrower’s application is circulated through other lenders globally to increase the likelihood of getting a loan. The system ensures that the lender who wins the bid is the one offering the lowest interest, enabling borrowers to have access to competitive repayment rates.

Over the past few years, there has been a proliferation of new fintech models, offering alternative financial solutions to the conventional set-ups, more so in the lending sub-sector in Africa. New horizons in the African financial industry are evident with new trends gaining strong traction especially through peer-to-peer (P2P) models-allowing such distinct niches as consumers, SMEs and other borrowers who were hitherto ignored by conventional lenders to access loans more efficiently and expeditiously via digital lending technology.

Learn more: Pocket Money

Global partners announce $61.8 million allocation to boost African Development Bank initiative for women entrepreneurs

The Governing Committee of the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) has approved a funding allocation of $61.8 million for the African Development Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) program.

We-Fi is a partnership among 14 donor governments, eight multilateral development banks, and other public and private sector stakeholders, established in October 2017 and hosted by the World Bank Group.

With the We-Fi funding, AFAWA intends to improve access to finance for 40,000 women-owned/led small and medium enterprises in 21 African countries, mainly in low-income and fragile countries, where women entrepreneurs face greater challenges in accessing finance, markets, knowledge, and mentoring programs.

Specifically, the program’s activities will be implemented in Botswana, Burundi, Chad, Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

The activities funded by We-Fi will be aligned with AFAWA’s three-pronged approach to holistically addressing the $42 billion financing gap between women and male entrepreneurs.

The first AFAWA pillar aims to increase access to finance for women through innovative and tailored financial instruments, including guarantee mechanisms to back up women entrepreneurs.

In collaboration with strategic partners, the second pillar focuses on providing capacity-building services to women entrepreneurs, including access to mentoring and entrepreneurship training courses. AFAWA also helps financial institutions address the specific needs of women-owned/led businesses through tailored financial and non-financial products.

The third pillar concentrates on improving the business environment for women by engaging in policy dialogue with central banks and other relevant authorities and stakeholders.

Lastly, the We-Fi funding will reinforce initiatives of the Bank and partners, such as UN Women and CARE International, in favor of women entrepreneurs in various sectors that are frequently overlooked by traditional financiers, donors and governments. These special initiatives include Fashionomics Africa and the African women tech entrepreneurs program.

Mary Olushoga, Founder of AWP Network hosts the African Women in Technology Event in Lagos

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African Women in Technology (AWIT) is a network of African women who are creatively redefining the technology space in Africa and are becoming key players and trendsetters in the World’s creative and innovative industries.

Founded by Anie Akpe, AWIT has become a platform for technological advancement in Africa and beyond. The AWIT conference took place at Zone Tech Park in Lagos and was sponsored by Google Africa and Flutterwave.

The African Women In Technology platform serves as a vehicle to push forward innovative ideas and encourage African women to step forward and get involved in the technological development of the continent while providing support to propel their careers. This event was organized in collaboration with Brycee Adiah Bassey; Quinta Onditi, the Executive Director of AWIT; Amin Ameen, Founder of Everything Na Art; Divine Muragijimana, Chief of Brand for Cellulant; and AWIT coordinators, Faith Olasiende and Idearest Ubachukwu.

Serving as a platform of inclusivity for all women in the African Technology Space, this two-day conference provided an opportunity for extensive networking among women at diverse stages of their careers. Participants exchanged ideas, interacted with industry experts, and had the opportunity to speak with representatives of various technology companies.

photography by Eniola Abumere: @eniolatito


Founder of AWP Network, Mary Olushoga to Launch the She Works in Tech Fellowship

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Mary Olushoga, Founder of AWP Network will launch the SheWorksInTech Fellowship at the African Women in Tech Conference. The conference, is scheduled to hold at Zone Tech Park on March 29 and 30.

The AWP Network SheWorksInTech Fellowship is a project-based immersive learning program for young women using the F.O.C.U.S. Methodology (TM), created by Mary Olushoga, to encourage collaborative learning, mentoring, leadership training and entrepreneurial strategies to develop long-term career and professional skills to develop the next generation of highly skilled workers in Africa.

The AWP Network is offering young women ages 18 – 30 year an opportunity to a paid internship at a leading tech company in Lagos and neighboring states. Only five (5) girls will be accepted in the first CoHoRT.

What is required to complete the program:

  • Pre/Post video interview, 
  • Mandatory sessions on Fridays and Saturdays,
  • Must attend all sessions and complete mandatory work hours,
  • Must complete a group project,
  • Essay must be submitted at the end of the program,
  • Submit Resume

What is required to apply?

Have questions? Email mary (at)










Founder of AWP Network, Mary Olushoga to serve as a Judge at the 2019 Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition in Berlin

Mary Olushoga

Mary Olushoga, Founder of the AWP Network will serve as a judge at the Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition set to take place in Berlin on October 19, 2019. The entrepreneurship program is part of the UNESCO Global Action Program (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

The Youth Citizen Entrepreneurship Competition is a global program established to empower young entrepreneurs to create a sustainable world. This global platform empowers young entrepreneurs (age 15-35) from around the world to engage in a more peaceful world. Participants submitted their innovative ideas and projects with a societal impact, which champion and implement one or more of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).  The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 related targets address the most important social, economic, environmental, health and governance challenges of our time.

Learn more about the competition here: Youth Citizen Entrepreneurs

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