MEST Africa selects these 15 Startups for the next cohort of the MEST Express Accelerator
MEST Africa and the Mastercard Foundation have announced the first cohort of the 2022 MEST Express Accelerator program, an initiative that supports promising early and growth stage startups with training, access to sector specific mentorship, technical and product development advisory services, and legal guidance to help founders and their businesses grow their operations.
Fifteen startups have been selected for this cohort based on their innovative offering, investor readiness, and potential to scale and provide work opportunities for young Ghanaian women and men. The startups are from varied sectors, including fintech, proptech, software as a service (SaaS), agriculture, energy, logistics, human resources management, and ICT. Graduating startups have the opportunity to receive up to $20,000 in equity-free funding towards further accelerating their growth.
Since September 2020, the Accelerator has supported 12 promising Ghanaian startups with $100,000 in funding and all participating businesses are part of the growing MEST community — receiving continued support from MEST as they make progress in their entrepreneurial journeys.
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to work with the most diverse group of startups we have had to date. Ten industries are represented in this cohort, including our first ever hardware startup. We are also excited to see some of the startups in this cohort using contemporary technologies such as blockchains, cryptocurrencies, and web3 in the delivery of their services. This speaks to the growing awareness and adoption of these technologies within the startup ecosystem in Ghana and we are eager to support startups to build viable business models around these solutions and more. As we kickstart our first cohort this year, we also wish to celebrate the many successes from our previous cohorts, such as Swoove, who have gone on to receive investment from BFA Global’s Catalyst Fund, Tendo receiving backing from YCombinator, and Treepz, which is Ghana’s (formerly Stabus) acquisition by Plentywaka,” said Felix Darko, Program Manager for MEST Express.
The selected ventures join a roster of over 70 startups, including Wi-Flix, Bosea Micro Credit, BezoMoney, and Motito — all graduates of MEST Express. Over the next five months, these 15 companies will work towards ramping up sales and traction, increasing market share, scaling their products, sourcing talent, and creating job opportunities for increased business growth and greater impact.
“As a startup, access to funding opportunities and professional advice has been challenging. Joining the MEST Express Accelerator has given us priceless access to mentorship, networking, and funding opportunities. The experience so far has been very insightful with tremendous support from experts across different fields. We look forward to completing the program with much more knowledge and skills that will allow us to build a sustainable business,” said Benjamin Bice Asiedu, Co-founder and CEO of Traderex.
Bolstaar — a farm technologies aggregation platform that allows smallholder farmers to have on demand access to technologies, machineries, and implements.
BTL Plus — a marketing technology company serving brands and consumers with engaging apps and solutions.
Bukyia — a social food ordering app, with cloud kitchen components, that provides “eat now and pay later” financing options through their BukyiaPay service.
Donkomi Express — a web-based platform that connects sellers and buyers of clothing items through our website and social media.
Nexotin — an e-commerce marketplace, targeted at students, helping them buy items affordably and conveniently.
Nukushare — an agricultural technology service company that builds digital technologies and people systems to ensure African farmers have last-mile and timely access to quality improved seeds and fertilizers.
Oarbt — a SaaS solution for creators to sell web2 and web3 products in 3D showcases with data insights for user engagement and sales conversion.
Pay Up — facilitates payments from domestic accounts in Ghana and international accounts, allowing Ghanaians to make payments from a cedi account to a foreign currency denominated account.
Sikadan Home — uses facility management strategies and financial solutions to offer affordable housing for Ghana’s low-income population.
Smart Gas App — GasApp has developed an online platform for liquid petroleum gas (LPG) distribution, leakage detector, and level monitor which works through a mobile app and smart device.
Speednance a virtual currency exchange platform that facilitates the buying and selling of Bitcoin and USDT within minutes.
Stride an on-demand logistics startup that provides last mile delivery and fulfillment services to e-commerce merchants.
Talents in Africa — a marketplace platform that uses proprietary testing tools to predict young people’s performance at work and matches them to job opportunities. They help growing companies in Africa recruit, build, and retain talent.
Traderex — a commodity trading company focused on trading agro commodities physically in the open market as well as electronically on formalized exchanges.
Tudu Technologies — an ecommerce platform helping vendors easily list and sell items, connect with customers, and offers logistics and delivery support.
“Following the tremendous success of the previous cohort under this program, we are excited to support this group, and look forward to their sustained contribution to the thriving start-up ecosystem in Ghana, as they in turn, create more work opportunities for other young men and women,” said Chirag Shamdasani, Ghana Program Lead, Innovation, at the Mastercard Foundation.