MEST Express is an acceleration program focused on providing investment-readiness support to early and growth-stage startups in Ghana.
It delivers hands-on business interventions focused on rapid practical application and observable business outcomes. The program works with founders to ensure their businesses are poised for growth and increased impact.
After 20 weeks of hands-on expert-led workshops and mentorship, startups in each cohort have the opportunity to participate in a pitching session where the top-performing ventures receive equity-free grant funding. Since the commencement of the accelerator in 2020, MEST in partnership with MasterCard provides about $1000K annually to over 50 startups including Treepz, Motito, Digistore, PayBox, Swoove and Yom Yom.
According to MEST, "the latest cohort is focused on empowering startups in Ghana that provide solutions that use technology to drive transformational change to create a more sustainable future for all," according to the accelerator's website.
The 2022 MEST Express Accelerator cohort is made up of six Ghananian startups solving problems in the fintech, agriculture, logistics, health, and e-commerce sectors. The startups include: Shaq Express, Fluid Finance, Tiny Reusers, Digital Health Access and Sommalife.
Shaq Express is a local e-commerce and courier company with the sole aim of creating the convenience of a digital lifestyle that connects the customer and vendor; providing logistical support to customers by allowing them to move packages from one point to another.
Fluid Finance: empowers banks to finance low-income farmers at scale. "Our breakthrough offline technology enables farmers to access digital financial identities, cashless credits, and educational content to increase crop yield and financial literacy. At the end of the program, we want to facilitate access to 250,000 farmers," according to Moustapha Seck, CEO, Fluid Finance.
Tiny Reusers addresses the global environmental crisis as well as the unemployment issues in Ghana through our e-commerce platform where we invite all to sell their preloved and new baby, kids, and maternity items.
The startup's CEO Lisa Nielsen said that via the programme, the team is expecting exponential growth and impact: "In 6 months, we hope to gain good traction, become investor-ready, and improve on our technology," she said.
Digital Health Access
Digital Health Access is an all-inclusive Health Education and Consultation platform that connects healthcare professionals and providers to users and assists healthcare professionals with an Electronic Medical records system to manage their patient’s records.
Richmond Ampbeng, CEO of Digital Health Access, and his team saw the MEST Express Accelerator as an important opportunity to "benefit from expert training and mentorship and also gain access to the MEST Community."
Sommalife provides resources for women groups in shea-producing communities to produce high quality in large volumes, gain access to international markets and become agents of environmental conservation.
“We joined the MEST Express accelerator with the expectation that it will prepare us to be investor ready and at the end of the program, be able to raise $600,000 to complete our software development and scale our solution by 2023,” noted Mawuse Gyisun, CEO of Sommalife.
Africa Goodnest is e-commerce and logistics platform helping transform the way that we find and buy value-added agricultural products in the personal care, herbs, spices, food, and beverage space, from Africa.
According to Africa Goodnest's founder Bernice Yalley, MEST Express offers the opportunity to grow its platform sustainably. "At the end of the program, we hope that we will have over 100 vendors on our platform from all over the African continent, have made connections and sales with an almost equal amount of markets, and are representing ourselves at industry trade shows, Yalley said.
Kwaku Tabiri, co-founder of Swoove and an ex-beneficiary of the accelerator said that "before the program, we had been bootstrapping on our own for three years. We applied to the program to gain funding, become part of a community of entrepreneurs as well as acquire knowledge and experience on how to build a startup, and we gained all three."
"Our experience during the MEST Express accelerator was very educational," he said.