Doesn’t matter where you start your business, but it does help to have a solid foundation to start on. MEST, created by Jorn Lyseggen, became a foundation for those who needed the know-how to begin their startups. They help create jobs and Africa by providing training and mentorship to African entrepreneurs.
From A Dream To An Idea To A Business
MEST Incubator (Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology), is located in Ghana Their two year program has been building businesses since 2008. Within two years, those who have enrolled into MEST’s program will have learned vital computer skills and entrepreneurial skills. After two years, 5 lucky startups are allowed to pitch their idea to investors who travel from around the globe. Many of the investors, some coming from the US, spend quite a bit of money on these startup ideas.
If the startup is selected then they head on to the next phase called the Incubation phase. Here the chosen startups are rewarded extra money to actually begin working on their ideas. These chunks of money are no small amount so in return the rewarded business will provide minority equity. The returns are recycled back into the Meltwater Foundation, a non-profit.
Meltwater welcomes many visitors, who can talk to the EITs. Meltwater’s network expands globally; students from Oxford and Stanford see if they can keep pace with Meltwater’s EITs (Entrepreneurs in Training).
Yearly Meltwater EITs are taught by heavy weights in the business world. Faculty members like Jim Kaubisch, Sun Microsystem Engineer, is one of the instructors in the program. Also they allow guest lecturers to drop in on their classes, be it in person or through Skype.
“It’s A Family Affair”
MEST members become a family after a while, if there’s a problem, they solve it together. For example, they needed extra space for working on their new ideas, but the area that seemed to be the promise land for the new building had a flaw. A large ditch separated the new building from the main building. Together the students came up with the idea of building a rope bridge to connect the two buildings.
MEST is providing opportunities for people in Ghana. Families of EITs provide great support for those who are studying with MEST.
Jorn Lyseggen probably did not know what he was getting himself into; he probably didn’t realize he was going to impact so many lives. But he did, he changed the lives of those who started: Oyyah, AdsBrook, Mpawa and Retail Tower. Retail Tower now works with Amazon, a company I’m sure you’ve probably heard of a time or two. MEST for many became that solid foundation in which to build their startup on.