Applications open for early-stage Ghanaian Startups to scale their operations through the Mastercard Foundation and MEST Express Accelerator Program

ACCRA, Ghana — MEST, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation has announced that applications are open for the next two cohorts of the MEST Express Accelerator program.

The 20-week acceleration program, under the Mastercard Foundation’s Young Africa Works strategy, offers free training, mentorship, resources, and support to participating startups. At the end of the program, startups in each cohort will have the opportunity to participate in a pitching session where top-performing ventures will receive equity-free grant funding.

“Securing investment is extremely difficult for early-stage startups. This is why we are introducing a strong focus on investment readiness and fundraising in our upcoming cohorts, with the view of connecting startups to sources of capital and preparing them to effectively deploy funds to grow their businesses,” said Felix Darko, MEST Express Program Manager.

The two cohorts will have a blend of virtual and in-person sessions. One cohort will take place in Accra, with in-person sessions held at the MEST campus. In an effort to make entrepreneurial training more accessible to startups across Ghana, the other cohort will take place in Tamale at the HOPin Academy.

“After extensive research in three regions and numerous insights about the technology and entrepreneurship landscape across the country, we are excited to announce our partnership with HOPin Academy. Situated in Tamale, the largest city in the Northern half of Ghana, the Academy provides an exciting opportunity to reach many young entrepreneurs and to help develop the still-nascent technology ecosystem in the North,” said Gregory Coussa, Strategic Director at MEST Africa.

“We are delighted to see the expansion of the MEST Accelerator program to support early-stage startups across the country. Democratizing access to opportunities that nurture entrepreneurial dreams will increase the chances of success for newly established enterprises by young entrepreneurs,” said Chirag Shamdasani, Ghana Program Partner, Digital Economy at the Mastercard Foundation.

Early-stage startups operating in Ghana are encouraged to apply for the upcoming accelerator program. Interested young entrepreneurs can access the application portal here.

“We applied for the program because we wanted to kickstart our journey towards taking our business to market. We saw the opportunity to fine-tune and implement various aspects of business development. We found a competent space to expand our knowledge and receive expert advice on business growth. The team valued the learning and networking which the MEST Express program provided.” — Esinam Yevu, Co-Founder and Communications Lead at Ghanaian fintech startup, PayBox

Earlier this year, three startups, Bosea, Wegoo, and Motito, were awarded $10,000, $6,000, and $4,000 respectively in grant funding.

To date, the program has accelerated 18 startups operating in various industries.

Interested in joining the next cohorts of MEST Express? Start your application here today.

The largest Africa-wide technology entrepreneur training program, internal seed fund, and network of hubs offering incubation for startups: www.meltwater.org