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Home Startups Senegal’s startup Kwely wins the 2022 MEST Africa Challenge

Senegal’s startup Kwely wins the 2022 MEST Africa Challenge

by Milcah Lukhanyu
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Kwely ,a B2B wholesale distribution platform for Made-in-Africa products, has  been  announced  the winner of the MEST Africa 2022 edition of the MEST Africa Challenge (MAC); a pan-African tech startup pitch competition.

Kwely is an extensive distribution network,  that provides access to market to local african producers while offering international volume buyers a new and reliable sourcing platform that meets their needs.Kwely   was  founded  by Birame Sock, a Senegalese entrepreneur.

Birame Sock, founder and CEO of Kwely said,“Winning the MEST Africa Challenge really means a lot to me and the Kwely Team. The journey of an entrepreneur is never easy but it really is a passion from my heart. Getting this recognition gives us the push and confidence that we need to forge ahead. When things get difficult, it is important to remember that we have a network of amazing people around us who are rooting for us.” 

The 2022 MEST Africa Challenge was organized by Absa Bank Ghana and supported by Codeln, Copianto, Google, Dream VC, Heny, Impact Hub- Dakar, Hubspot for Startups, Paystack, Wiflix.  

Kwely  beat four other startup finalists from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa  and  was announced winner at the Demo Day and Final Pitch Competition held in Accra to mark  the end of a four-month period of shortlisting over 500 tech startups from 5 African countries.

  MAC’s   previous winning startups include Tanzania’s Kilimo Fresh, Ghana’s OZE, South Africa’s Snode Technologies, Kenya’s Waya Waya, and Nigeria’s Accounteer to receive US$50,000 in equity investment, access to expert business coaches, mentors, and global investors.

Speaking on the MEST Africa Challenge’s Grand finale, MEST Africa’s Director of Portfolio, Melissa Nsiah said: “This year’s MAC competition had 5 winners from each of our key markets. After reading through hundreds of applications and meeting dozens of brilliant and innovative founders from across the continent, I became even more excited about technology startups on the continent and even more convinced that it would be impossible to pick one overall winner.

“The talent is just immense! But with the help of our judges and boisterous live and virtual audience, a final overall winner emerged in Birame Sock of Kwely from Senegal. We are thrilled to welcome Kwely into the MEST portfolio.” 

MEST Africa Challenge (MAC) begun  in 2018, and since given a platform for hundreds of technology startups all across the continent to raise funding, build industry networks and gain global visibility. This year’s competition opened in July and received hundreds of applications from startups in 5 African markets – Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Senegal, and South Africa.

Grace Anim-Yeboah, Director of Business Banking at Absa Bank said, “We are a bank that is interested in the total transformation of the continent through innovation and creativity. Every day we see great potential all around us and it excites us.

Our partnership with MEST is a true stroke of inspiration and will provide lots of opportunities for startup companies and also provide next-generation ideas for the continent’s socio-economic growth. I am happy for the winning team from Senegal; we look forward to a closer collaboration with you and the others, as we look forward to creating an ecosystem that will feed the world.”

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