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MEST Express Accelerator Opens Applications For Sustainable Startups In Ghana

June 21, 2022, 11:47 a.m.

MEST Africa, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, has opened applications for the first cohort of the MEST Express accelerator, focused on accelerating startups within the sustainable technology solutions sector.

The Foundation, in collaboration with the pan-African technology innovation hub, is looking to support startups in Ghana that are using technology to create a sustainable future for all under the lens of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Impact-driven entrepreneurs building sustainable revenue-generating startups are invited to apply.

Participating startups will receive an upfront equity-free funding of $5,000 towards enhancing their business growth. Startups with female founders or with senior female staff members are especially encouraged to apply.

After two years of running six cohorts and supporting 56 startups, the accelerator program is refining its focus and mode of delivery to ensure better growth outcomes.

“Our next cohort for the MEST Express accelerator is focused on sustainable startups because solving core problems in Africa often involves looking at how we can create sustainable solutions that positively impact our communities. Sustainability opens up a unique opportunity for African entrepreneurs as it confronts real problem areas with high visibility and universal interest. The fundamental nature of the problems addressed to guarantee the markets are sizable and present opportunities to merge impact with profitability,” said Femi Adewumi, Director of Programs, MEST Africa

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“After two years of running six cohorts and supporting several startups, our findings also show that ventures benefit more when the support we offer is bespoke and addresses the unique challenges of each business. As such, this upcoming cohort will offer startups deeper support where specific projects will be instituted and managed throughout the program to address the unique needs of the venture,” he added.

The program will run virtually with occasional in-person sessions held in Accra. Six startups will be selected to participate in the five-month acceleration program designed to support these businesses, increase their impact, and become investment-ready. At the start of the program, each startup will take part in a series of bespoke diagnostic sessions to establish the critical needs of the startup. For the duration of the program, participating startups, with the help of the program experts, will work towards addressing these gaps in sales, marketing and branding, product, operations, and finance and investments.

“Our partnership with MEST continues to support, scale, and drive innovation within the startup ecosystem in Ghana by eliminating the barriers that might be holding startups back. As this new cohort commences, we look forward to seeing new ideas, innovative technology, and sustainable solutions that will create work opportunities for young Ghanaian women and men. Also, this initiative will contribute to positioning Ghana as a pulsating technological hub in Africa,” commented Rosy Fynn, Ghana Country Head at the Mastercard Foundation.

To date, MEST Express has accelerated more than 50 startups and awarded over $100,000 in equity-free funding to 12 startups in Ghana. Recently, the program launched its very first cohort in Kumasi, in partnership with hapaSpace, following the success of its first partner cohort in Tamale with HOPin Academy.

Applications for the next cohort, based in Accra, are open now through 10th July 2022. Startups can apply at meltwater.org/mest-express

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