Ghana’s Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), which hosts one of the continent’s top technology incubators, has announced it’s accepting applications from South Africa, for the first time.
MEST’s annual year-long intensive training program incubates young entrepreneurs with the aim of launching a software company. The MEST program blends an MBA-type education with hands-on training in software development. Students are grouped into teams develop a product, write business plans, and craft their investor pitches.
At the end of the program, teams pitch their businesses and the best ones receive between $50,000 and $250,000 in equity investment. Teams that receive investment then start their new journey at the MEST Incubator, where they receive continued hands-on support as they launch and grow their businesses.
The program was previously only open to applicants from Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya. “We’ve found the diversification of students in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria exponentially increase the business ideas that come from the training program. With the addition of South Africa, we look forward to fostering even more talent,” Katie Sarro, Managing Director, MEST said in a statement.
MEST has in the past invested in 25 companies and some have gone on to be accepted into internationally renowned programs such as the Silicon Valley-based 500 Startups.
MEST said it will also be launching incubators Nigeria and Kenya this year, followed by Cape Town and Johannesburg in 2017. This means that entrepreneurs will be able to operate their businesses from their home countries and not have to go to Ghana to be incubated.
The MEST programme kicks off in September this year. Applications can be made online and should be completed latest by May 10, 2016.