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Top African tech incubator now accepting applications from SA

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 programme incubates young entrepreneurs with the aim of launching a software company.

The MEST programme 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 programme, teams pitch their businesses and the best ones receive between $50 000 (R750 000) and $250 000 (R3.7 illion) 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 programme 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 programmes 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.

“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,” said Jorn Lyseggen, founder of MEST.

The MEST programme kicks off in September this year. To apply, fill out the application form online  by the 10th May.
Source: htxt 22 March 2014