Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) Africa Summit which started last week, Monday, June 10 came to an end on Wednesday, June 12.
Held in Kenya, this year's event marked MEST Africa's fourth year of hosting the three-day pan-African technology summit, with additional sponsorship from Oracle, Intel, Lori Systems, Stratlink, and Ethiopian Airlines.
The first day was set-aside for arrivals, drinks and networking—held at MEST space in Nairobi—something the Managing Director at MEST Africa is big on.
"It's our fourth year running the Summit, and it always serves as a reminder of what Africa can achieve with the right blend of talent and experience" said Aaron Fu—Managing Director, MEST Africa.
"Over the three days, it's always amazing to observe how the relationships between attendees grow, and the fact that we are able to facilitate that is something we never take for granted", he added.
On the second day tagged "Conference day", the Summit took place at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Nairobi.
The day began with opening remarks from MEST CEO & Founder—Jorn Lyseggen, and Microsoft Senior Director of Software Partnerships—Christopher Lwanga.
Then it was followed by The Great Debate: which is the most startup and scaleup-friendly nation? moderated by Google's Fola Olatunji-David who is the Head of Startup Success and Services, Launchpad Africa.
Representatives from key African markets argued in favour of their home nations.
From left to right; the panellists include former Interswitch Executive and Founder & CEO TeamApt Limited, Tosin Eniolorunda (Nigeria), co-Founder & CEO OZÉ, Meaghan McCormick (Ghana), co-Founder and CEO Seekewa, Fred Zamble (Cote D’Ivoire), former Dalberg Senior Project Manager and CEO Africa's Talking, Bilha Ndirangu (Kenya), former Safaricom Limited Executive and Chief Commercial Officer, Mobile Survey Inc., Claire Munene (Kenya).
Four other panel sessions took place split in half by a lunch break, before Lori System's CEO gave his keynote speech at 16:00.
The day culminated in the finals of the MEST Africa Challenge—an annual Pan-African pitch competition and ended with a twist. Rather than choosing one winner, the judges awarded $50,000 in equity investment from MEST and $25,000 in credit from Microsoft to each of three startups: Ghana's Fintech startup, OZÉ, South Africa's Cybersecurity startup Snode Technologies and Kenya's Fintech startup WayaWaya.
The third day of the summit tagged "Ecosystem Day" featured workshops run by sponsors—Microsoft Azure, Liquid Telecom, Intel, Stratlink and MEST—alongside three panel sessions.
The 7th floor of MEST's Incubator played host to the over 300 guests.
The guest list comprised entrepreneurs, investors, ecosystem players and executives from across the globe gathered to explore innovations and rising stars in the African tech ecosystem.
Other speakers this year included Dr Bitange Ndemo, Philip Thigo, Andreata Muforo (Partner, TLcom), Ngozi Dozie (co-Founder, Carbon) as well as representatives from Google Launchpad, Safaricom, and the African Development Bank.
With panel discussions spanned several industries including healthcare, and pan-African startup ecosystem building.
Aaron Fu, Managing Director at MEST Africa, mentioned, "We started this with the aim of creating a space for honest discussions on how the continent can continue to move forward and markets can come together—my personal hope is that we continue to see this grow and that more collaborations across markets take shape."