MEST Africa and the Mastercard Foundation to scale six high-impact Ghanaian SMEs through MEST Scale Accelerator Program
After a multi-phase application process, MEST Africa, in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, is pleased to welcome six Ghanaian SMEs as the second cohort of the MEST Scale Accelerator. Selected for their innovative impact-driven solutions, the businesses span a variety of sectors, including education, logistics, e-commerce, agriculture, and marketing technology. Fifty percent of the businesses in the cohort also have women in leadership roles.
Over the next six months, MEST Africa and the Mastercard Foundation will partner with these young businesses to develop and implement high-impact strategies designed to ensure sustainable and impactful growth of their businesses. Through bespoke engagement and sector-specific masterclasses led by experts from MEST Africa, the Mastercard Foundation, Absa Bank Ghana, and Deloitte Ghana, the companies will work to address key challenges that make it difficult for them to scale up sustainably. Other focus areas will include investment readiness, sustainability, partnerships, finance, and operations.
“When the MEST Scale program was launched a year ago, our main goal was to ensure the continued success of SMEs in Ghana by providing the needed support in areas that often prevent these businesses from reaching their full potential. Small and medium enterprises play a critical role in the development of our economy and their survival is crucial to innovation and job creation, especially in the current economic climate. This year, we will be supporting the companies to scale sustainably and also provide them with better access to finance tools through our partnerships with Absa Bank and Deloitte,” said Angela Duho, Program Manager, MEST Scale.
The participating companies are:
Techaide — Techaide uses technology to improve education and economic opportunities for Africans by deploying ICT solutions to both urban and rural communities.
YomYom — YomYom is a digital logistics marketplace for informal businesses that want to connect with trusted transport providers.
Swoove — Swoove is building the largest network of logistics providers in Africa. The startup is focused on connecting small businesses with accessible logistics services at affordable prices, helping them reach more customers globally.
Arkesel — Arkesel provides businesses with platforms for engagement and personalized communication with customers using SMS, email, voice messaging, USSD, and cloud computing.
OceansMall — OceansMall uses technology to build an end-to-end supply chain platform to contribute to the reduction of food loss and waste in the fishing industry.
Digistore Africa — Digistore Africa is empowering business owners in Africa by removing the complexities of starting, managing and growing their businesses.
Since the launch of the MEST Scale Accelerator in January 2022, the program has supported 12 high-growth SMEs in Ghana by providing strategic, technical, and operational support to address key technology gaps and capital linkages and increase SME scaling capacity.
During their engagement with the program, the 12 SMEs generated 80 jobs — 45 women and 35 men, of which 66 are young people. Six of the 12 SMEs received bespoke support for up to six months, and in that period, they generated over $700,000 in revenue due to an increase in sales and customers, a refinement of their products, and through the implementation of marketing strategies, among others.
“The Mastercard Foundation is guided by its mission to advance learning, promote financial inclusion, and fulfilling job opportunities for Ghana’s young people. Anchored by our Young Africa Works strategy, our focus is to also ensure that we support African organizations so that they can, in turn, create inclusive employment prospects for young people. This is why we’re excited to support high-impact SMEs through the MEST Accelerator Program, which will enable these young entrepreneurs to create dignified and fulfilling job opportunities for young women and men in their communities,” said Rosy Fynn, Country Director, Mastercard Foundation, Ghana.
Apply to join the next cohort
Applications to join the next MEST Scale Accelerator cohort are currently open until March 24, 2023. Scale-stage startups and technology-focused SMEs operating in Ghana are encouraged to apply. The program will run virtually, with occasional in-person sessions held in Accra from May to November 2023. Companies can find more information and apply at meltwater.org/mest-scale.
MEST is a pan-African software and entrepreneurship training program, seed fund, and incubator helping to launch technology startups across the continent. Founded in Ghana in 2008 by serial entrepreneur Jorn Lyseggen, MEST is a 12-month program that provides critical skills training in software development, business, and communications to Africa’s burgeoning tech talent. MEST provides seed funding for the best ideas coming out of the program and continues to support the growth and development of its portfolio companies.
To date, MEST has trained 1000s of entrepreneurs from across the continent and invested in over 80 startups across industries from Agritech, Fintech, SaaS, eCommerce, Digital Media, and Healthcare amongst others. MEST is fully funded by the Meltwater Foundation, the non-profit arm of the Norwegian company Meltwater; a global leader in social and media intelligence headquartered in San Francisco.
Learn more at https://meltwater.org
ABOUT THE MASTERCARD FOUNDATION
The Mastercard Foundation The Mastercard Foundation works with visionary organizations to enable young people in Africa and in Indigenous communities in Canada to access dignified and fulfilling work. It is one of the largest private foundations in the world with a mission to advance learning and promote financial inclusion to create an inclusive and equitable world. It was established in 2006 through the generosity of Mastercard when it became a public company. The Foundation is an independent organization and its policies, operations, and program decisions are determined by its own Board of Directors and senior leadership team. It is a registered Canadian charity with offices in Toronto, Kigali, Accra and Nairobi, Kampala, Lagos, Dakar, and Addis Ababa.
ABOUT YOUNG AFRICA WORKS
Young Africa Works is the Mastercard Foundation’s strategy to enable 30 million young Africans, 70 percent of whom will be young women, to access dignified and fulfilling work. Africa will be home to the world’s largest workforce, with 375 million young people entering the job market by 2030. With the right skills, these young people will contribute to Africa’s global competitiveness and improve their lives and those of their communities.
The Mastercard Foundation will implement Young Africa Works in 10 African countries in collaboration with governments, private sector, entrepreneurs, educators, and young people. The first phase of countries identified by the Mastercard Foundation are Rwanda, Kenya, Ghana, Senegal, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Nigeria.
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Angela Duho, Program Manager
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