cows Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa |
Keywords related to the funding opportunity.
Equity Investment Incubation
A short description of the funding opportunity.

Applications are now open for the 2019 MEST Africa scale-up pitch competition! 

The MEST Africa Challenge returns for its second year, offering up to $50k in equity investment for startups based in South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and Cote d’Ivoire.

Full description: 
A detailed description of the funding opportunity.

This month, MEST Africa announced the launch of applications for its second annual MEST Africa Challenge, a Pan-African pitch competition for scale-ups based in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa or Cote d’Ivoire who are ready to expand into new markets. This year’s finalists from each country will attend the MEST Africa Summit in Nairobi, Kenya, June 10-12, 2019, where they will once again compete on a global stage for up to $50k in equity investment and the opportunity to join the Pan-African MEST incubator community. Applications are open until February 15.

“This year we’re looking for the continent’s most exciting African scale-ups who are ready to expand into new markets, and continue building world-class solutions for African problems,” said MEST Managing Director, Aaron Fu.

The team at MEST, along with this year’s platinum sponsor Microsoft, looks forward to hosting the second edition of the Challenge FInals at the 2019 MEST Africa Summit, which will bring together leading African and global entrepreneurs, investors, corporate partners and ecosystem players in MEST Africa’s newest home, Nairobi, Kenya.

“We are excited to partner with MEST,”  said Microsoft Senior Director, Chris Lwanga. “At Microsoft our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. We firmly believe that innovation is the birthright of every human being and look forward to seeing first hand the amazing innovation coming from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Cote d’Ivoire.”

The inaugural MEST Africa Challenge in 2018 saw over 700 applications across four markets, out of which 40 made it into the regional finals in Accra, Lagos, Nairobi and Cape Town. One representative from each team was flown to Cape Town, where they presented in front of a jury of judges from Facebook, MTN, and Meltwater, as well as the Summit’s global audience of investors, Pan-African entrepreneurs and corporate leaders. Accounteer, a Nigeria-based cloud accounting company, took home the first prize including $50,000 USD in equity investment and a space in the MEST Incubator Lagos.

Niyi Adegboye, Senior Business Developer at Accounteer who presented the winning pitch in 2018, said of his experience:

“It was an amazing experience participating in the MEST Africa Challenge 2018. Being the regional winner gave me the poise that Accounteer would emerge as the winner in South Africa, and the trip to Cape Town was superb. Accounteer is proud to be a part of the MEST portfolio today. ” Since winning the Challenge, Accounteer has expanded from Nigeria into Kenya, and has received follow-on funding from Microtraction.

Applications for this year’s Challenge will be open from January 14th - February 15th, 2019. Find out more about the Challenge and apply here. If you are a post-revenue tech business, in any vertical, who can show why you should be taken seriously as a leader in your space, you are encouraged to apply. Top companies in each region will be invited to pitch at regional events in Accra, Nairobi, Lagos, Cape Town and Abidjan.


Regional pitch events will be held on the following dates, at MEST Incubator locations or local partners office:

●      Accra: Wednesday, February 27

●      Nairobi: Wednesday, February 27

●      Lagos: Thursday, February 28

●      Cape Town: Thursday, February 28

●      Abidjan: Thursday, February 28

A description of what is funded by this opportunity.

Equity Investments and space in a MEST incubator programme.

Applicable funding type(s).
Equity investment
How to apply for the funding opportunity.

Please go to for more information and to apply.

Organisations with projects/technologies in the following organisation sector(s) may qualify to receive the funding.
Micro business Small business Medium business Large business
The minimum Technology Readiness Level a technology should have to be considered for this funding opportunity. Please follow the link to view more information on Technology Readiness Levels: Technology Readiness Levels
TRL 9: System ready for full scale deployment
Follow this link to access more information regarding this funding opportunity.
Your project will be assessed based on the following criteria.


Companies must:

  • Be post-revenue
  • Operate in the market in which they are applying
  • Be primarily tech-focused
  • Be ready to scale into new markets across Africa
The process followed to select and award funding.

More information about necessary qualifications, and the application and selection process can be found here.

Date opened: 
The date the funding opportunity is opened.
Thursday, January 17, 2019
Closing date: 
The closing date for funding opportunity applications.
Thursday, February 14, 2019
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