MEST Africa, the Pan-African entrepreneurial training program, seed fund and incubator, has officially announced its fourth annual MEST Africa Summit, in collaboration with Microsoft.
The Pan-African tech conference, the MEST Africa Summit brings together leading entrepreneurs, investors, ecosystem players and executives from across Africa and globally to explore the latest innovations and rising stars in the African tech ecosystem. In addition to panel discussions driven by the continent’s top thought leaders, this year’s event will feature an engaging second day including interactive workshops designed for entrepreneurs, a look inside the MEST training program and incubator, and more.
Following the success of last year’s event in Cape Town, this year’s Summit will build on the exponential growth and diversity that the continent’s startup scene has witnessed over the past 12 months. Thought leaders will discuss the latest challenges and opportunities in the African tech space, including the impact of AI and machine learning on Africa’s workforce, the role of tech in cultivating a more energy-efficient Africa, how the creative use of data is enabling financial inclusion on the continent and more.
The Summit will feature addresses from MEST and Meltwater Founder and CEO Jorn Lyseggen, and Microsoft’s Senior Director for Africa Chris Langwa. Additional partners include Liquid Telecom, Africa’s Talking, Ethiopian Airlines, Shell Foundation, Flutterwave, African Development Bank, ALX, iHub, GrowthAfrica, Gearbox and more.
Speakers to date include Wambui Kinya (Chief Strategy Officer at Andela), Martin Karanja (Market Engagement Director at GSMA), Fola Olatunji David (Head of Startup Successes and Services, Launchpad Africa at Google), Tosh Juma (Managing Director Nairobi, IDEO.org), Olugbenga Agboola (Co-Founder & CEO at partner Flutterwave) and more.
The Summit will culminate with the finals of the 2019 MEST Africa Challenge, where attendees see regional winners AMPZ.TV, OZÉ, Snode Technologies, WayaWaya and Seekewa pitch for a chance at up to $50,000 in equity investment, a place in a MEST Africa incubator of their choice and full support to help their company scale.
MEST Africa’s Managing Director, Aaron Fu, said: “As we gear up for this year’s Summit, we’re excited to welcome some of Africa’s most engaging entrepreneurs, partners, corporate leaders and ecosystem facilitators. We’re thrilled to partner with Microsoft, whose entrepreneur toolkit is helping developers across the continent more easily build impactful solutions. We look forward to diving deep into discussions around the innovations and solutions that are rapidly driving change on the continent.”
Microsoft Senior Director for Africa Chris Langwa said: “At Microsoft we believe in empowering every organization and person to do more. The work that MEST does with innovators in Africa aligns perfectly with our mission to transform people’s lives through technology engagement.”
MEST Africa has been training, supporting and investing in tech entrepreneurs on the continent for more than 10 years. Over 330 individual entrepreneurs have been trained at MEST, and nearly 60 tech companies have been launched via seed funding and mentorship. Five companies have exited, including Amplify Payments Ltd. (Amplify) who was recently acquired by leading Nigerian fintech player, One Finance Limited (OneFi), to further develop the payments ecosystem in Nigeria.