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.