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SMEs jostle for Sh6m tech contest top prize

 Eligible applicants must be a tech-enabled or software company. [iStockphoto]

Kenyan small businesses dealing in technology have until the end of the month to apply for seed capital in the ongoing MEST Africa Challenge (MAC) contest.

With funding of up to Sh5.9 million at stake, MEST - a youth-focused pan-African entrepreneurship programme- is accepting applications from pre-seed to seed stage technology start-ups from Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Kenya and South Africa until the end of the month.

"The challenge provides a stage for technology startups to raise funding, build industry networks and gain international visibility that would serve them well in growing and expanding their businesses," said organisers of the contest.

Two finalists will be picked from each country to take part in the final pitch event to be held in Ghana's capital Accra for the ultimate prize of Sh5.9 million in equity.

Eligible applicants must be a tech-enabled or software company using any business model and must demonstrate traction in or more of the MAC markets - Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Senegal.

Founded in 2008 by serial entrepreneur Jorn Lyseggen, MEST Africa is a 12-month programme that provides critical skills training in software development, business and communications to Africa's burgeoning tech talent.

MEST to date has trained thousands of entrepreneurs from across the continent and invested in more than 80 startups across Agritech, Fintech, e-commerce, digital media and healthcare, among others.

The tech hub is fully funded by the Meltwater Foundation, the non-profit arm of the San Francisco-based Norwegian firm Meltwater, specialising in social and media intelligence worldwide.

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