Senegal’s Kwely Wins the 2022 MEST Africa Challenge Pitch Competition

MEST Africa
4 min readDec 7, 2022
Birame Sock, founder of Kwely giving her acceptance speech at the MEST Africa Challenge Demo Day and Final Pitch Competition

MEST Africa is proud to announce Senegalese tech startup Kwely as the winner of the 2022 edition of the MEST Africa Challenge (MAC); a pan-African tech startup pitch competition.

Kwely is a digital made-in-Africa products distribution platform founded by Birame Sock, a Senegalese entrepreneur. The startup joins MAC’s winning startups such as Tanzania’s Kilimo Fresh, Ghana’s OZE, South Africa’s Snode Technologies, Kenya’s Waya Waya, and Nigeria’s Accounteer to receive US$50,000 in equity investment, access to expert business coaches, mentors, and global investors.

“Winning the MEST Africa Challenge really means a lot to me and the Kwely Team. The journey of an entrepreneur is never easy but it really is a passion from my heart. Getting this recognition gives us the push and confidence that we need to forge ahead. When things get difficult, it is important to remember that we have a network of amazing people around us who are rooting for us.” said Birame Sock, founder and CEO of Kwely.

The announcement was made at the Demo Day and Final Pitch Competition held in Accra to culminate a four-month period of shortlisting over 500 tech startups from 5 African countries.

The female-founded startup emerged as the winner out of four other startup finalists; Sproutly (Nigeria), Swoove (Ghana), Hisa (Kenya), and Desert Green Africa (South Africa) following invigorating pitches from all finalists:

Sproutly Inc (Nigeria)

Digital Banking, Tuition Financing for Teens & Students and Payments, Education Management and Credits for Schools. Learn more https://sproutlyhq.com/

Swoove Inc (Ghana)

Swoove is a last-mile delivery and fulfillment tech startup building e-commerce infrastructure for SMEs and commerce companies on the continent. Learn more https://www.swoove.delivery

Hisa Inc (Kenya)

Building the tech infrastructure for investing in Africa. Learn more: https://hisa.co/

Desert Green Africa Agri-Investments (South Africa)

Desert Green is an Agritech transforming the Informal Agri-value chain in Africa by providing more efficient delivery of Fresh produce from small-scale farmers to informal traders. Learn more www.desertgreen.co.za

Speaking on the MEST Africa Challenge’s Grand finale, MEST Africa’s Director of Portfolio, Melissa Nsiah said:

“This year’s MAC competition had 5 winners from each of our key markets. After reading through hundreds of applications and meeting dozens of brilliant and innovative founders from across the continent, I became even more excited about technology startups on the continent and even more convinced that it would be impossible to pick one overall winner. The talent is just immense! But with the help of our judges and boisterous live and virtual audience, a final overall winner emerged in Birame Sock of Kwely from Senegal. We are thrilled to welcome Kwely into the MEST portfolio.”

The 2022 MEST Africa Challenge was successfully organized in partnership with Absa Bank Ghana. We are truly grateful for their partnership and demonstrated dedication toward entrepreneurs on the continent.

We are also thankful for the contributions and support of our partners; CodeLn, Copianto, Google For Startups, Dream VC, Heny, Impact Hub- Dakar, Hubspot for Startups, Paystack, and Wiflix who are providing participating startups with exciting perks and prizes.

About the 2022 MEST Africa Challenge

MEST Africa Challenge (MAC), is a pan-African start-up pitch competition, launched with the aim of providing a stage for technology startups to raise funding, build industry networks and gain global visibility.

In its fourth year, the competition received hundreds of applications from technology startups in 5 African markets — Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Senegal, and South Africa to compete on a global stage for up to $50,000 in equity investment and a lifetime of support from MEST Africa’s global community.

Watch the Demo Day & Final Pitch competition:

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MEST Africa

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