Ghana’s Startup Bub Pioneer Is Going Pan-African With a $50 Million Fund
Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) has built one of Africa’s best known startup ecosystems in Accra, Ghana over the last eight years—and now it’s doubling down on a push to take its vision pan-African.
As MEST has grown, it has opened up its local entrepreneur training program to founders from Nigeria and Kenya who usually want to go back home after their year-long program. To help ensure those startups thrive beyond the mothership, MEST is finalizing plans to open its first incubators in Lagos and Nairobi this summer. By next year, it expects plans to be in place to open incubators in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
MEST, which opened up shop in 2008 as a non-profit arm of San Francisco-based Meltwater Group, was a pioneer of the startup hub model in Africa. But in recent years its has been surpassed by newer, faster growing hubs in other African cities.
Reflecting the rapid growth in the continent’s startup scene, MEST is taking a long bet on African startups by starting to raise $50 million for its first venture capital fund, called MEST Venture Partners. The new fund will also back non-MEST trained startups.