MEST Announces Plans to Invest $1.1 Million
The African incubator MEST will be giving 11 startups backing of $100,000 each with the goal of providing seed investment to African innovators geared to build commercial technology businesses. This amounts to the largest investment to date for an Accra-based organisation. MEST is known as one of the largest and most prominent tech hubs in Africa.
From Fintech to Beauty
This year, investments are aimed at four countries: Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana. The startups to receive backing cover a range of industries, from agritech and fintech to entertainment and beauty. Some hope to revolutionise some local area of business. For example Bezo Money, a Ghana-based fintech startup hoping to use the financial backing to launch an app that will digitise and formalise the traditional savings sector in West Africa.
In the beauty industry, MEST backed Zuri, a platform aimed at making the beauty industry more accessible by publishing reviews of beauty professionals and services and providing connections between them and potential clients. Zuri intends to use the funding to develop the business and its product offering. According to the founder of Zuri, Onyinye Nnedolisa, the African market in the beauty services industry is worth more than $30 billion.
After the investment is made, there is an 18 month incubation period, during which MEST provides support to the beneficiary and gives them the opportunity to utilise MEST incubation centres in a variety of African markets. Going forward, MEST intends to expand to other African countries and has a keen eye on Cote d’Ivoire. The organisation also plans to continue providing a range of entrepreneurial training initiatives intended to shape founders able to found companies. The focus is to develop and invest in early-stage startups in Africa.