The Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) invites applications MEST Africa’s second annual MEST Africa Challenge, a Pan-African pitch competition for scale-ups who are ready to expand into new markets in 2020.

Africa’s tech startups can reach their fullest potential when stakeholders across the continent share ideas, leverage resources, and find common ground. The 2020 MEST Africa Summit aims to connect and explore the perspectives of founders, investors, and enablers including hubs and accelerators, public sector actors and global corporates, to answer the question of how we can all work together to support our mutual interest: growing the African startup ecosystem.

Due to COVID-19, MEST currently advises against all non-essential local and international travel. These events will be local, closed events with the potential to move digital as the need arises.

For more than 10 years, MEST has trained aspiring African entrepreneurs and invested in exceptional businesses with Pan-African ambitions. These businesses have gone on to enter new markets, with MEST growing alongside them as we’ve learned about the opportunities and challenges they face as they scale. Today, MEST Africa is the continent’s largest incubator network, present in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa and Cote d’Ivoire.

Worth of Award

  • Winners of each country’s semi-final competition will compete in the Challenge finals at the MEST Africa Summit 2020.
  • Finalists will compete on a global stage in front of entrepreneurs, investors, corporate partners and ecosystem players for the chance to win $50k in investment from the Meltwater Foundation, and the opportunity to join the MEST Africa incubator community.


  • The MEST Africa Challenge is the African tech startup pitch competition for early-stage companies based in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Côte d’Ivoire, Rwanda, Senegal, Ethiopia or Tanzania.
  • Pre-seed or seed-stage (have raised $100k total or less cumulatively since inception)
  • Currently generating revenue
  • Can demonstrate traction in one or more of the nine MAC Markets (Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Rwanda)
  • Has been in operations for 2 years or less
  • Tech-enabled (software company)
  • Industry agnostic
  • Any business model (B2B, B2C, B2B2C, B2G etc…)
  • *Francophone applicants must pitch in English

How to Apply

  • The Application is online through their website

The top 10 startups will pitch at MEST Incubator locations or local partners offices on the following dates (exact dates subject to change if the Challenge moves to online):

  • Lagos, Nigeria: Friday, May 1st
  • Johannesburg, South Africa: Monday, May 4th
  • Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Friday, May 8th
  • Accra, Ghana: Monday, May 11th
  • Nairobi, Kenya: Monday, May 11th
  • Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire: Tuesday, May 12th
  • Kigali, Rwanda: Thursday, May 14th
  • Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: Monday, May 18th
  • Dakar, Senegal: Friday, May 22nd

Deadline: Applications for this year’s Challenge are open from March 16 to April 18, 2020


Click here for more details and to apply

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