The Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) has announced its formal expansion into South Africa and is now accepting South Africans into its next cohort.
Established in 2008, MEST provides training, investment and incubation to aspiring technology entrepreneurs in Africa and with bridges to Silicon Valley, where the organisation’s headquarters in based and where there are several members of the MEST management team who help connect African entrepreneurs with US investors and corporates. Since its inception, MEST has invested $20-million in supporting African entrepreneurs.
MEST is currently looking for South African techies and entrepreneurs to join its next dynamic cohort of trainees, with the opportunity to receive funding for either a startup idea or a new idea the entrepreneur comes up with during the one-year programme in Accra, Ghana, which begins September 2016.
The program is geared toward:
* Aspiring entrepreneurs with a brilliant idea for a tech startup?
* Startups that have an idea and need assistance taking it to the next level?
* Entrepreneurs who don’t have a business idea yet but know they want to be an entrepreneur and don’t know how to go about becoming one?
Entrepreneurs who meet any of these criteria could apply to MEST, to take part in the one-year entrepreneurial programme in Ghana, where they can immerse yourself in a new market and learn about expanding their business across Africa and internationally.
MEST works with individuals from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and starting this year, South Africa, who are passionate about technology improving the lives of Africans.
It provides a full scholarship to a one-year entrepreneurial training programme that blends an MBA-type education with hands-on training in software development.
“During the programme, individuals form into teams, develop a product, write business plans, and craft their investor pitches,” says Katie Sarro, MD of MEST. “And if you already have a business idea, we’ll work with you to fine-tune your idea, fix bugs in your product, revitalize your go-to-market strategy and open up our global network of VCs, angel investors and corporates.”
The strongest and most promising concepts receive between $50 000 to $250 000 in equity investment, to support the launch of these new businesses.
During this time, MEST covers housing, food, tuition in Ghana and air travel ticket costs to and from Ghana in order to ensure that individuals can focus completely on becoming world-class entrepreneurs during their year in Ghana.
To date, the MEST Incubator has invested in over 25 companies with $50 000-$250 000 initial seed funding and backed more than 75 co-founders.
“MEST companies have developed solutions addressing global markets,  received outside follow-on funding from global investors, and have gained admittance to top accelerator programmes such as 500 Startups, TechStars and Y-Combinator,” says Sarro. “This is where our ties and roots in Silicon Valley (and access to 55 other Meltwater offices around the globe) play a huge role in supporting startups for the long term, global stage.”
The seadline for South African candidates to apply is June 20, and in-person interviews will be held at the Meltwater Cape Town office on June 27 and June 28.