Ghana-based Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) and Samsung Electronics have partnered in an initiative that will provide more opportunities, resources and tools to West African entrepreneurs, resulting in several areas of positive impact for the tech ecosystem. MEST trains, invests and incubates aspiring African software entrepreneurs, putting them on the path to become globally
Ghana-based Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) and Samsung Electronics have partnered in an initiative that will provide more opportunities, resources and tools to West African entrepreneurs, resulting in several areas of positive impact for the tech ecosystem. MEST trains, invests and incubates aspiring African software entrepreneurs, putting them on the path to become globally successful technology entrepreneurs; Samsung’s role will have deep impact at each phase of the MEST program.
MEST recruits top talent from Ghanaian and Nigerian university graduates. Once enrolled, Entrepreneurs-in-Training (EITs) receive a full scholarship to an intensive program that blends hands-on training in software development with business and communications education. During this period, EITs are also tasked with forming new business ideas based on the tech skills they’ve built, with the guidance of teaching fellows and staff.
Samsung will be involved from the early stages, starting with company ideation and pitching processes during the MEST training portion and will support MEST by providing in-kind as well as subsidized devices and tablets that can be used to test out and further develop their solutions. EITs will also have the opportunity to apply for internship positions at Samsung during MEST internship breaks in Lagos, Nigeria campus.
Upon graduating from the MEST training program, EITs stand to receive an initial round of seed funding from MEST (ranging from $50-$250,000) to pursue their business. Investment hinges on EITs’ “final exam” (a business pitch to the board) and is based on specific KPIs as well as the commercial viability of the business idea.
Samsung Enterprise Business Partners in Nigeria will have the opportunity to invest as well as have a minority stake in a new or existing company coming out of MEST.
Teams that receive investment are given subsidized office space, 24/7 electricity and internet, and access to MEST’s global network of advisors comprised of renowned venture capitalists and entrepreneurs from around the globe, all of whom support the distribution, marketing and sales of these newly incubated companies.
Adding to this support, the MEST-Samsung partnership will help open doors for MEST incubator companies – both consumer and B2B focused – to partner on distribution of mobile applications and cross-marketing services.
Samsung will work with MEST-incubated companies and facilitate introductions of market-fit and market-ready MEST startups to Samsung Enterprise Business Partners and Samsung Information and Mobility Business teams to further explore specific commercial and technical partnerships to pilot and scale these products/services through strategic projects addressing market needs in verticals such as Education, Financial Services, Healthcare, Retail, Transportation and Hospitality.
“Entrepreneurs and startups at MEST are developing innovative applications that can add value to end-users in West Africa and promote the adoptions of Samsung products, solutions and services,” says Charles Ojei, Director, Enterprise Business for Samsung Electronics West Africa.
“MEST is among the first in the African continent to both train software entrepreneurs for two years as well as guide them through investment programs that yield actual results. Samsung is very excited to be involved in this full-circle program and look forward to supporting at each phase in a mutually beneficial relationship that is win-win for both parties. The MEST model builds local talent and capacity, enhances the tech ecosystem and also creates sustainable jobs and wealth within the community, and we are proud to be a part of that.”
West African Tech Ecosystem Development
Beyond the training and investment program, MEST also plays an extremely active role in nurturing the nascent but growing space that is the African tech ecosystem, and holds frequent meet-ups, hackathons, and other opportunities for the community to cross-pollinate ideas and resources.
Due to MEST’s role in the developer, technology startup space in West Africa, MEST will help provide Samsung general access and visibility with developers and entrepreneurs in West Africa.
The two organizations plan to roll-out a series of co-sponsored events in Ghana and Nigeria, where new ideas and technology will have the opportunity to prosper.
“A major objective for MEST in 2015 is bringing on board strategic partners who can support our mission to empower hundreds of tech entrepreneurs in Africa,” says Neal Hansch, Managing Director, MEST Incubator. “We can’t think of a better or well-equipped partner in the space and are very honored to have Samsung formally join us in our efforts and further catalyze growth in the African tech market.”
This news first appeared on MEST