Tanzania’s Kilimo Fresh has been named the ultimate winner of the MEST Africa 2020 challenge, walking away with an envious prize of $50,000 in investment.
Debo Engineering was announced as the winner of the first MEST Africa Challenge Community Choice, an award given to the startup with the most votes from the audience. They will receive a fully-funded slot in one of MEST’s incubators, with access to its vast and international community as well as drool-worthy perks.
MEST Africa Challenge offers entrepreneurs and young businesses the opportunity of a lifetime; $50,000 in equity funding and a slot in one of MEST’s hubs.
This year, the competition was held virtually, and expanded its reach from five to nine African countries, making room for more startups to receive support in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The competition kicked off with seventy-five finalists, tech startups from Ethiopia, Kenya, Côte D’Ivoire, Rwanda, Ghana, Tanzania, Senegal, Nigeria and South Africa chosen from among one thousand applicants.
The country finals lasted two months, after which DeboEngineering (Ethiopia), Fundis(Kenya), Tutoo+(Côte d’Ivoire), BAG Innovation(Rwanda), Oniocha Ltd(Ghana), Kilimo fresh Foods Africa Limited(Tanzania), Mousso Africa(Senegal), Gradely(Nigeria) and PopUpShopShop(South Africa) emerged country winners, qualifying them to compete in the finale.
Each startup was assessed based on a variety of factors including value proposition, impact, size of the target market, customer identification, revenue model, competitor analysis, growth strategy, traction-to-date, and expertise of the founding team. The judges included a list of investors, serial entrepreneurs and executives including MEST Africa’s very own CEO and founder – Jorn Lyseggen, Microsoft’s Senior Director for Software Partnerships – Chris Lwanga; the Founding Principal of Imaginable Futures – Teresa Mbagaya and Partner of TLcom Capital – Andreata Muforo.