Apply For The MEST Africa Challenge 2023 for early-stage technology startups [$50,000 Prize]

Apply For The MEST Africa Challenge 2023 for early-stage technology startups [$50,000 Prize]
Apply For The MEST Africa Challenge 2023 for early-stage technology startups [$50,000 Prize]

MEST Africa Challenge 2023 for early-stage technology startups ($50,000 in equity)

The MEST Africa Challenge (MAC) is a Pan-African pitch competition for early-stage technology startups seeking to ramp up traction and growth. Launched in 2019, MAC aims to provide a platform for startups to raise funding, build industry networks, and gain global visibility. 

Overview of MEST Africa Challenge 2023

The 2023 edition of MAC will focus on startups based in Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Kenya, and South Africa. The application deadline is October 9, 2023. Winners stand to gain $50,000 in equity funding, access to MEST’s portfolio resources and partnerships, one year of business coaching, and other prizes.


MAC 2023 Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for MAC 2023, startups should meet the following criteria:

– Early-stage technology startup


– Operational in Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Kenya or South Africa 

– Minimum monthly recurring revenue of $5,000

– Total funding raised of $1 million or less  

– 3 years in existence or less

– At least 6 months of recurring revenue

– Minimum 2 founding members

– Preferably registered in Delaware, USA

– Any industry or business model (B2B, B2C etc.)

– English pitch

Benefits for MAC 2023 Winners

The key benefits for MAC 2023 winners include:

– $50,000 equity investment 

– Access to MEST's portfolio resources and partnerships

– One year of professional business coaching

– Global visibility and recognition

– Opportunities for funding and investments

– Becoming part of MEST's supportive community

– Additional prizes and perks from MEST partners

MAC 2023 Timeline

The tentative competition stages and timeline are:

– Application opens: August 28, 2023 

– Application deadline: October 9, 2023

– Regional finalists announced: November 3, 2023

– Regional finals held: November 20-24, 2023 

– Finalists announced: November 27, 2023

– Final Demo Day: December 2023

MAC 2023 Application Process 

Startups interested in MAC 2023 must complete the online application form and submit a pitch deck and a 3-minute video pitch. The key requirements are:

Pitch deck

The pitch deck should contain information about the startup's product/service, market opportunity, business model, traction, team, future plans, funding needs and use of funds. It must be in PDF format with a maximum of 10 slides.

Video pitch 

– 3 minutes maximum duration

– Founders must appear on camera to deliver the pitch

– Focus on pitch content rather than video quality

– Must be in English language

The video pitch should cover these key areas:

– Problem statement/pain points addressed

– Product/service description 

– Traction/progress so far

– Market potential and opportunity

– Revenue/business model   

– Team background

– Funding needs and use of funds

– Future plans and projections

MAC 2023 Competition Stages

1. Application submission: Startups submit applications with pitch deck and videos. 

2. Regional finals selection: Top 10 startups selected from each country (50 total) for regional finals.

3. Regional finals: The selected startups pitch virtually to judges. 

4. Finalists selection: Top startups from each region (5 total) announced as grand finale finalists. 

5. Grand finale & demo day: The 5 finalists pitch in person to judges in Accra, Ghana and winners are announced.

MAC 2023 Judging Criteria

Startups will be assessed by judges on the following criteria:

– Problem-solution fit: Relevance of problem addressed and efficacy of solution

– Product design and development: Stage of product development and features 

– Market potential: Size of target market and growth opportunities

– Traction and revenue: Commercial validation, customer adoption and revenue

– Team: Founders' expertise and commitment  

– Business model: Viability and scalability of the model

– Financials: Funding needs, plans and projections 

– Pitch quality: Storytelling, presentation and communication 

MEST Africa

MAC 2023 is organized by MEST Africa, a pan-African entrepreneurial training program, seed fund and incubator. Headquartered in Accra, Ghana, MEST operates hubs in Africa supporting startups through training, funding, incubation and global mentorship. 

MEST Africa provides hands-on skills training, Seed funding up to $100k, coworking spaces, access to a global mentor network and entrepreneurial community to help founders launch and scale successful tech businesses across the continent. The initiative aims to equip pioneering entrepreneurs with the skills, resources and connections needed to create globally successful companies that address critical regional issues.

Over 280 startups have graduated from MEST's incubator programs. MEST alumni have raised over $100 million in investments, created 1200+ direct jobs, and impacted over 10 million lives.

MEST Africa Challenge Past Winners

Previous winners of the MEST Africa Challenge include:

2022: PAPS (Senegal) – AI-enabled diagnostic platform for breast cancer screening.

2021: Edufie (Ghana) – Online learning management system for schools. 

2020: Chowberry (Ghana) – Food delivery platform.

2019: Kyadondo (Uganda) – Marketplace for buying and selling used cars.

2019 was the inaugural edition of MAC with finals held in Accra, Ghana. Since 2020, the competition has expanded into a Pan-African pitch contest with country editions across the continent. 

MAC has consistently attracted hundreds of applicants annually, providing increased exposure for startups. The competition has become a premier launch pad for growth-stage African tech entrepreneurs to showcase their innovative solutions.

MEST Africa Challenge 2023 Partners

MAC 2023 is organized in partnership with leading organizations including:

– Absa Bank: African financial services group and one of the main sponsors.

– Microsoft: Global technology provider assisting with technical support. 

– AWS Activate: Amazon program providing AWS credits to accelerate startups.

– Google for Startups: Supports startups with free tools and resources. 

– PeaceTech Lab: Provides media training to finalists.

Additional perks and support are provided by several corporate partners across industries like cloud, financial services, media, and more. Partners gain brand exposure, networking and visibility into Africa's top startups. Previous partners include Visa, Ringier One Africa Media, Ashesi University and Briter Bridges.

Wrapping Up

The MEST Africa Challenge serves as a gateway for early-stage African tech startups to access funding, training and connections to scale their business. The competition has evolved into one of the continent's most prestigious technology startup events granting entrepreneurs global visibility.  

MAC 2023 promises to enable innovators and changemakers across Africa to attract investment and unlock the next level of startup success. The program aligns with MEST's broader mission of developing vibrant, globally connected tech ecosystems across the continent.

To Apply Please check out the MEST Africa Challenge 2023's official website here

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