From an entrepreneurial perspective, the solution to most of the problems encountered in Africa can be solved if the nation is able to produce effective entrepreneurs. One aspect of entrepreneurship needed to catapult the continent unto a transformational spree is the technology businessperson, one who uses technology to solve a societal problem. This aspect of entrepreneurship has led to the establishment of numerous start-ups on the African continent.
In the United States many innovations, industries and startups have emerged out of Silicon Valley, the southern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area of Northern California. It is home to many of the world’s largest high tech corporations, as well as thousands of tech startup companies, like Apple, Facebook, Yahoo, Intel, just to mention a few. Ghana can also boost of its own mini Silicon Valley, a centralized place where many startups in the country have emerged. We are sure most of you reading this are familiar with the Meltwater Entrepreneur School of Technology (MEST).
MEST was established in 2008 by the Meltwater Group through its Meltwater Foundation arm. The vision of MEST is to “take the brightest and most willing minds and put them through a rigorous two year training programme to become tech entrepreneurs.” MEST is a postgraduate school that has trained more than 20 technology entrepreneurs since its establishment. The journey to become a technology entrepreneur at MEST begins with a Training phase followed by an Incubation period and finally Mentorship. The Incubator was established to produce great technology entrepreneurs through seed funding, providing office space and hands-on training for graduates who want to set up their own tech ventures. Some topics studied at the school include Responsive Web Design, Object Oriented Programming, Introduction to Java Programming, Crafting Target Personas, etc.
Within a period of two years a student at MEST, also considered an Entrepreneur –In – Training (EIT), is taken through vigorous trainings to learn about software development and entrepreneurship from the feet of renowned faculty lecturers who have gained international recognition. In order to ensure that EITs develop their potential to the maximum they are offered EITs full scholarships, housed in an all-expense paid hostel facility throughout their study, receive catered meals three times per day and given stipends to make their two years duration worthwhile.
MEST is not called the mini Silicon Valley of Africa for nothing; over the years they have been the focal point, propelling the launch of some award winning startups and companies in Ghana, Africa, and the World at large. Startups like Dropifi, Adsbrook, SMSGH, Leti Arts, Saya, PollAFRIQUE, VESTRACKER, SUBA among others. The future of Ghana and Africa is brighter with institutions like MEST and we will not be surprised if the next biggest tech venture comes out of Ghana’s mini Silicon Valley.