Run by pan-African training programme, seed fund, incubator and hub the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) who is also a member of Nairobi Garage, the MEST Africa Challenge was aimed at post-revenue, tech-enabled startups that want to expand into new markets.
Five finalists were selected for the challenge, which was won last year by Nigerian smart accounting platform Accounteer, with the final taking place at the end of the fourth annual MEST Africa Summit, which took place in Nairobi on Wednesday.
Three startups were named winners, taking home US$50,000 in equity investment from MEST and US$25,000 in credit from Microsoft.
Ghanaian startup OZÉ, is a data insights company that helps businesses make data-driven financial decisions while the South African Snode Technologies is a real-time cybersecurity platform while Waya Waya is a fintech company that provides seamless transactions into and within Africa for individuals and businesses.
The other two startups competing were Nigerian sports community AMPZ.TV and Ivory Coast-based agri-tech financing platform Seekewa.
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. Panellists discussed a range of topics, while there were keynotes from MEST founder Jorn Lyseggen, Microsoft’s Chris Lwanga, and Lori Systems’ Josh Sandler.
“It’s our fourth year running the summit and it always serves as a reminder of what Africa can achieve with the right blend of talent and experience. Over the three days, it’s always amazing to observe how the relationships between attendees grow, and the fact that we are able to facilitate that is something we never take for granted,” said Aaron Fu, managing director at MEST Africa.
“We started this with the aim of creating a space for honest discussions on how the continent can continue to move forward and markets can come together – my personal hope is that we continue to see this grow and that more collaborations across markets take shape.”
The two day event featured panelists who 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.
In addition to keynotes from MEST Founder Jorn Lyseggen, Microsoft’s Chris Lwanga and Lori’s Josh Sandler, key speakers this year included Dr. Bitange Ndemo, Philip Thigo, Andreata Muforo (Partner, TLcom), Bilha Ndirangu (CEO, Africa’s Talking), Ngozi Dozie (Co-Founder, Carbon) as well as representatives from Google Launchpad, Safaricom, the African Development Bank 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.
The event culminated in the finals of the MEST Africa Challenge
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