Mest Africa Challenge 2020

Win up to $50k equity investment and become a part of the MEST community


Now virtual and calling all tech start-ups in Abidjan, Accra, Addis, Kigali, Dakar, Dar Es Salaam, Lagos, Nairobi, and Johannesburg!

The MEST Africa Challenge, the African tech startup pitch competition, is expanding its reach from five markets to nine, targeting early-stage companies based in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Côte d’Ivoire, Sénégal, Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Tanzania.

Following extensive feedback from entrepreneurs, conversations with tech ecosystem players, and the developments of COVID-19 in Africa, the MEST Africa Challenge has announced that this year’s competition will be entirely virtual for the first time since its inception three years ago. In light of this uncertain time, MEST is expanding the 2020 MEST Africa Challenge to target even more tech startups in need of funding.

This means the application deadline for the 2020 MEST Africa Challenge has been extended to May 13th. Additionally, each country final will take place in its own week, during which MEST will be curating and creating conversations and resources specific to their particular local contexts.

The expansion will also allow us to support more startups through funding and resources in line with our mission of strengthening the ecosystem and creating an enabling environment for tech startups in Africa.

Participating entrepreneurs will take part in country-wide competitions where they’ll pitch virtually to a panel of expert judges. Finalists from each country will go on to compete on a global stage in front of entrepreneurs, investors, corporate partners and ecosystem players for the chance to win $50k in equity investment from the MEST, and the opportunity to join the MEST incubator community.

Application Criteria:

  1. Pre-seed or seed-stage (have raised $100k total or less cumulatively since inception)
  2. Currently generating revenue
  3. Can demonstrate traction in one or more of the nine MEST Africa Challenge Markets (Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Rwanda)
  4. Has been in operations for 2 years or less
  5. Tech-enabled (software company)
  6. Industry agnostic
  7. Any business model (B2B, B2C, B2B2C, B2G etc…)
  8. *Francophone applicants must pitch in English

The MEST Africa Challenge 2020 Calendar:

Selected companies for this year’s MEST Africa Challenge country finals will be notified by May 20. Shortlisted companies will pitch online on the following dates:

  • May 27 – MAC Johannesburg
  • June 3 – MAC Addis Ababa
  • June 10 – MAC Nairobi
  • June 17 – MAC Abidjan
  • June 24 – MAC Kigali
  • July 1 – MAC Accra
  • July 8 – MAC Dar Es Salaam
  • July 15 – MAC Dakar
  • July 22 – MAC Lagos

For inquiries, please email us at

* Due to the progression of COVID-19 in Africa, the 2020 MEST Africa Challenge will be going virtual in keeping with safety and security guidelines.


May 13, 2020
Program dates Mar 16 - Jul 15, 2020
OrganizerMEST Africa
Website Visit website
Côte d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania
Sectors EdTech, HealthTech, ICT