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11 African Startups win $1.1 million MEST grant

11 African Startups have won $100,000 at the latest Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology, (MEST) Africa incubator programme for 2019. 

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MEST Africa

11 African startups have won $100,000 each at the latest Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology’s (MEST) Africa incubator programme for 2019. 

The incubator programme was used to mark the graduation ceremony of the latest cohort of startups that participated in over a decade length of MEST’s existence. 

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13 startups participated in the pitch event but only 11 were successful as they retained the hosting rights to launch 30 MEST-portfolio companies. This investment becomes the largest single round it has made in one cohort till date. 

[READ MORE: ShowMax vs Netflix is a battle David will lose to Goliath]

The teams include those from Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. 

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Ghana ranks first with the highest number of startups which include: 

  • a digital savings platform, BezoMoney 
  • a female-focused healthcare service aggregator, Massira 
  • a big data platform, Adi+Bolga; and  
  • a merchant-lender financing platform, Niqao. 

Ghana is followed by Nigeria with startups which include:   

  • a beauty platform, Zuri; 
  • a studio booking service, CoVibes; and
  • a real-estate crowdfunding platform, Cofundie. 

[READ ALSO: You could end up in jail if you use WhatsApp like this]

Kenya startups also benefitted from the incubator with three startups consisting of: 

  • a Mobile money ticketing startup, Saada 
  • a healthcare service, Nadia; and  
  • a farm produce distribution platform, Farmula. 
South Africa is the fourth with only one startup (Kweza) to benefit from the fundraiser.

The prize money: The 11 companies won $100,000 each in investment from MEST which will culminate into $1.1 million, making them a part of the 60 early-stage software companies, in the industries ranging from e-commerce to agritech, fintech, healthtech, and AI-supported by MEST. 

Nairametrics report stated that MEST had invested the sum of $22 million dollars in its incubators till date with more follow-on-funds to come. 

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About MEST: Launched in 2008, MEST is a Pan-African training programme, seed fund, incubator and hub for technology entrepreneurs in Africa, providing critical skills training in software development, business and communications, as well as seed funding and incubation. Headquartered in Accra, Ghana, with a presence in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and Cote d’Ivoire, MEST is funded by the Meltwater Foundation, the non-profit arm of Meltwater, a global leader in media intelligence and Outside Insight. 

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Reincarnated as a lover of stocks, Angel investors, seed funds, and anything aligned to tech or startups raising money, Joseph's work at Nairametrics involves following the money to wherever it leads. Before joining Nairametrics, he won an investigative journalism fellowship with ICIR, appeared in several national dallies, with hard-hitting opinions, features and investigative pieces. He has also engaged in content marketing and copywriting for a top e-commerce firm in Nigeria.

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Coronavirus

Lagos sets up committee to monitor worship centres compliance to COVID-19 protocols

To ensure compliance to COVID-19 protocols, the Lagos government has set up a committee.

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Lagos SEC meeting goes virtual as full lockdown commences, Partial lockdown guidelines for businesses from May 4

Lagos state government has constituted a Monitoring and Compliance Committee to ensure worship centres comply with the COVID-19 protocols, as they open for services.

This was disclosed by the Commissioner for Home Affairs, Prince Anofiu Elegushi on Friday, via the state government’s Twitter handle.

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Back story: A few days ago, Nairametrics reported when the state government introduced some measures and conditions that must be met/fulfiled by all religious centres and places of worships that are planning to reopen, following further relaxation of lockdown.

Some of the measures are:

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* Only regular services/gatherings are permitted to hold. Night vigils and other non-regular programmes remain prohibited until further notice.

* Attendees above 65 years are strongly discouraged from attending worship services.

* Consider holding services and gatherings in large, well-ventilated areas or outdoors, as circumstances and faith tradition allow.

* No face mask, no entry policy, must be maintained throughout the duration of the services.

* Regular cleaning and disinfection of facilities must be carried out to maintain clean and hygienic environments before and after every service.

Meanwhile, Prince Elegushi explained that the State Government is satisfied with the readiness of religious leaders
to observe the criteria on protocols for the re-opening of worship centres in the State.

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He noted that the partial re-opening of Churches and Mosques is a pilot scheme that is predicated on the strict observance of protocols of monitoring, compliance and enforcement of COVID-19 guidelines by worship centres.

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Update: Fuel scarcity looms as NUPENG directs Tanker drivers to withdraw services in Lagos

This was disclosed in a press statement by NUPENG on Friday, August 7, 2020.

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The scarcity of petroleum products appears to be looming in Lagos as the leadership of Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has directed its members to withdraw its services in Lagos with effect from Monday, August 10, 2020.

This is due to the failure of government authorities to address the various issues that have been causing serious pains and harrowing experience on the petroleum tanker drivers in the state for several months now.

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This was disclosed in a press statement by NUPENG on Friday, August 7, 2020.

NUPENG in its statement revealed that the entire rank and file members of the Union are deeply pained and frustrated by the so many challenges being consistently faced by Petroleum Tanker Drivers in Lagos State.

They said that they are left with no other option but to direct its members to withdraw their services in Lagos State until the State Government and other relevant Stakeholders address these critical. challenges.

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The statement from NUPENG reads, ‘’The National Leadership of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has directed the withdrawal of services of Petroleum Tanker Drivers from Lagos State with effect from Monday, 10th August 2020 following the failure of various authorities in the State to address three major issues that have severely caused pains and harrowing experiences on the hapless Petroleum Tanker Drivers in the State for several months now.’’

‘’The entire rank and file members of the Union are deeply pained, frustrated and agonized by the barrage of these challenges being consistently faced by Petroleum Tanker Drivers in Lagos State and are left with no other option but to direct the withdrawal of their services in Lagos State until Lagos State Government and other relevant Stakeholders address these critical challenges.’

The Union reiterated that It is sad and disheartening to note that they had made several appeals and reports to Lagos State Government and the Presidential Task Force for the decongestion of Apapa on these challenges but all to no avail.

They said that they cannot afford to fold their arms while their members are being consistently and continually extorted, intimidated, harassed and victimized by different groups and segments in Lagos.

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President Buhari signs amended Companies Allied Matters bill

The President’s action on the document repealed and replaced the extant Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990.

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Budget: FG completes just 31.7% of constituency projects, Nigerians react to President Buhari's signing of Finance Bill 

President Muhammadu Buhari has assented to the Companies and Allied Matters Bill 2020, which was recently passed by the National Assembly.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by a media aide of President Buhari, Femi Adesina and shared by the Personal Assistant to the President, Bashir Ahmad, via his Twitter handle.

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According to the statement, the President’s action on the document repealed and replaced the extant Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990, and introduced several corporate legal innovations geared toward enhancing ease of doing business in the country.

Key innovations in the new Act:

* Filing fee reductions and other reforms to make it easier and cheaper for small and medium-sized enterprises to register and reform their businesses in Nigeria;

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* Allowing corporate promoters of companies to establish private companies with a single member or shareholder, and creating limited liability partnerships and limited partnerships to give investors and business people alternative forms of carrying out their business in an efficient and flexible way;

* Innovating processes and procedures to ease the operations of companies, such as introducing Statements of Compliance; replacing “authorised share capital” with minimum share capital to reduce costs of incorporating companies; and providing for electronic filing, electronic share transfers, e-meetings as well as remote general meetings for private companies in response to the disruptions to close contact physical meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic;

* Requiring the disclosure of persons with significant control of companies in a register of beneficial owners to enhance corporate accountability and transparency; and

* Enhancing the minority shareholder protection and engagement; introducing enhanced business rescue reforms for insolvent companies; and permitting the merger of Incorporated Trustees for associations that share similar aims and objectives.

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