It’s been a bit of a rough week for South Africa. With SAA ailing, Eskom crumbling, and mayors falling, it’s a week that have…
This is pretty cool. South African entrepreneurs can, for the first time, apply to be part of the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST).
The announcement comes as the prestigious entrepreneurial school continues its expansion across the African continent, with South Africans joining Ghanaians, Kenyans and Nigerians who wish to spend a year at MEST in Accra to take part in its training programme and launch their own software company, with potential for seed investment opportunities.
Admitted applicants receive a full scholarship to a one-year entrepreneurial training program that blends an MBA-type education with hands-on training in software development. During the program, students form into teams, develop a product, write business plans, and craft their investor pitches. The strongest and most promising concepts receive between US$50 000 to US$250 000 USD in equity investment, to support the launch of these new businesses.
Teams that receive investment then join the MEST Incubator, where they receive continued hands-on support as they launch and grow their businesses.
The school says that it has reaped serious benefits since opening up to other African countries in 2014.
“We’ve found the diversification of students in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria exponentially increase the business ideas that come from the training programme,” says Katie Sarro, Managing Director, MEST. With the addition of South Africa, we look forward to fostering even more talent.”
MEST will also be expanding the reach of its incubator program, with new incubators launching in Lagos and Nairobi set to launch this year– and in Cape Town and Johannesburg in 2017.
“The scope and resources of our Pan-African incubator network is a unique value prop and one of a kind on the continent,” says Jorn Lyseggen, founder of MEST. “Our entrepreneurs will now have the ability to launch startups in their home countries, after completing the one year training program in Ghana, while also allowing our current portfolio companies to more easily access new markets.” MEST plans to have strategic corporate partners in each market, who assist, support and promote our program entry into new cities. This expansion enables a clear network effect amongst MEST’s points of presence and helps empower MEST portfolio companies to reach broader audiences of potential consumers, clients and partners.
To date, MEST says, its incubator has invested in over 25 companies and backed more than 75 co-founders.
Applications for the programme can be found online.