MEST Opens Recruitment to Kenya

The new MEST logo

Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology has extended its recruitment boundaries towards East Africa, and specifically to Kenya! Over the past few years, MEST has succeeded in building a software entrepreneurship scholarship program which trains graduates to build globally successful software companies. As part of its efforts to create wealth and jobs across Africa, the school opened recruitment to Nigeria last year. This year, it has gone even further, all the way to Kenya.

The recruitment process in Nigeria brought in 9 out of about 27 trainees for last year. This has brought a good exposure within the program as graduates expect to build global, and not just Ghanaian, products. Hopefully, this recruitment to Kenya will yield great results for the school and the MEST Incubator.

This change also comes amidst the MEST rebranding and several partnerships that MEST has been signing first with Interswitch, then Vodafone, and recently Samsung. Another less popular news update is the program’s shortened duration, which now brings it to a year of training. This could be a good opening to create more software startups in more countries across Africa. These changes and partnerships may just be unraveling MEST’s new phase as it begins to gets into more territories meeting the changing needs and growing tech ecosystem in Africa.

Kenya has been one of Africa’s favourites when it comes to technology and entrepreneurship on the continent. Hopefully, this change will in a way contribute to startup activity in the East African country. It will be an opening to have more startups which have founders form different countries thus increasing general adoption for software across countries on the continent.

MEST has been known to produce some globally acclaimed startups. How do you think these changes will affect the MEST program and the incubator? Is it even necessary? Share your comments.

MEST Shortens Training Period to One Year! Apply Now!

Accra, Ghana
Calling all Ghanaian & Nigerian tech Entrepreneurs, Innovators & Change-makers! Do you know an ideal candidate? Share with them MEST Ghana’s fully sponsored 1 year training program in software development & business development to launch a globally competitive IT company! MEST is looking for the next wave of tech entrepreneurs — could it be you, or do you know someone who qualifies? We are now accepting entrepreneur applications. What We DoMEST offers a 12month/1year fully sponsored program focused on market oriented software development and practical entrepreneurship training. We have trained over 200 IT entrepreneurs and have invested over $15m in supporting software startups that came directly out of MEST. These companies have developed solutions addressing global markets, created jobs, competed in top global technology events such as TechCrunch Disrupt, DEMO, and the Launch Festival, and have gained admittance to top accelerator programs such as HealthXL and 500 Startups. What we offer
  • A 12 month fully sponsored world class training program & access to seed funding for your startup
  • Substantial hands on training in software development and entrepreneurship
  • A unique opportunity to launch and grow your tech company with access to global markets
  • Mentoring and coaching from executives in a variety of global software companies
  • Significant personal and professional growth and exciting career potential
  • Numerous chances to solve real life business problems with innovative solutions
  • Housing, monthly stipend, tuition, meals and a laptop all covered by MEST.
Application Qualifications
  • Passion to start a software company
  • Involved in the tech space either as an entrepreneur, consulting or freelancing
  • Entrepreneurial or corporate work experience is an added advantage
  • Can commit a year in Accra, Ghana participating in the MEST training program starting August 2015
  • Applicants from Nigeria must have completed their NYSC

HOW TO APPLY:Submit an online application form here: http://meltwater.org/school/admissions/For any admissions related inquiry, please contact Amma Baffoe via e-mail at: amma.baffoe@meltwater.org APPLICATION DEADLINE (extended)Ghana & Nigeria 10th May 2015. APPLICATION / SCREENING PROCESSApplication Screening / Selection Process:
  1. Aptitude test-(Saturday 2nd May – Kumasi, Sunday 3rd May – Accra)
    • Kumasi – Saturday 2nd May 2015 (WAEC Hall, Hall4), Time: 10:00am – 12:30pm prompt. Confirm your participation here.
    • Accra – Sunday 3rd May 2015 (Jones Quartey Building, Behind the African Studies Dept. at the Univ. of Ghana, Time: 12noon – 2:30pm prompt). Confirm your participation here.
  2. Lagos – To be announced soon.
  3. Interviews: mid-May – Mid June
  4. Successful candidates announced: Late June

AMMA BAFFOE Director of Marketing & Recruitment, MEST T: +233 303 933 257 | M: +233 20 201 4363 amma.baffoe@meltwater.org | www.meltwater.org

Kirusa Acquires Ghana’s Mobiile Messaging Platform, Saya Mobile

PRESS RELEASE (source: http://www.kirusa.com/media-news/press-release/2014/20140819)

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Voice Messaging and Social Media Innovator Kirusa has acquired the technology, workforce and intellectual property of Saya 

New Providence, NJ and Accra, Ghana, Tuesday, 19th August, 2014 —Kirusa, the leader in voice messaging and social media mobile apps in emerging markets, today announced that it has acquired Saya Mobile, a Ghana-based provider of instant messaging apps geared specifically for African consumers.Representative of the company’s increasing commitment to the region, this acquisition enhances Kirusa’s expertise and the reach of its InstaVoice mobile app across the African continent. As per the deal, Kirusa has acquired the technology, intellectual property, and workforce of Saya, which will now be working on Kirusa’s mobile applications.

“Africa remains a top priority for our business,” says Inderpal Singh Mumick, CEO of Kirusa. “While there has been astonishing progress of the mobile industry, the biggest impact of mobile in Africa is yet to come. We believe there are advantages to building products specifically for this region and have made the strategic decision to acquire Saya in line with that thinking. Since its inception, Saya has focused on delivering compelling messaging applications that enhance the mobile user experience and are tailored to the mobile consumers in emerging markets, and more specifically, in Africa.”

Founded in 2011, Saya has received wide exposure for its real-time “Street Chat” messaging application.  Based on highly scalable backend architecture, Saya’s platform includes social network integration, location-based and group chat across multiple phone platforms including J2ME, Android and iOS.

“In launching Saya, we wanted to create a world class product but that was made by Africans, for Africans,” says Robert Lamptey, CEO of Saya. “Joining forces with Kirusa is a natural and exciting next step for our team. We remain focused on our goal of placing this technology into the hands of and empowering millions of mobile subscribers. We look forward to realizing this vision together with Kirusa.”

“It was a true pleasure working with Kirusa on the acquisition. The professionalism and understanding displayed by their team during this process has been exceptional. Having known Kirusa’s management for years and supported Saya since its launch, MEST couldn’t be more supportive of Saya becoming a part of a company led by such industry visionaries”, says Neal Hansch, Managing Director of the MEST Incubator program in West Africa.

 “We are thrilled to have Saya’s talented team join Kirusa,” says Mumick. “Robert’s vision for mobile-first solutions in emerging markets matches that of our company and we believe this collaboration will continue to foster more creativity and innovation for the benefit of our customers.”

About Kirusa
Kirusa is the leader in voice messaging and social media mobile apps that enable mobile subscribers to “Have a Voice!” and share their stories with their family and friends across the globe.  Kirusa’s solutions include InstaVoice®, Celeb Connect™ and Sports Connect™ apps, which are offered in partnership with more than thirty-five mobile carriers in Africa, India, LatAm, and Middle East, as well as via the app stores, and are used monthly by over 80 million mobile users in four continents.  Kirusa solutions are built on its patented technology, and its highly reliable and scalable multimodal and cloud platforms, which process over one billion events a month. Kirusa has been recognized as one of top 20 most promising technology companies by Silicon India, and one of top 25 emerging technology companies by Smart Techie magazine. The InstaVoice app won first prize at NJTC Mobile Apps Forum.  Headquartered in New Jersey and led by an experienced team of wireless telecom executives and technologists, Kirusa has offices in four continents. InstaVoice is a US registered trademark of Kirusa, Inc.

For more information, visit: www.kirusa.com

About Saya Mobile
Saya is a mobile messaging company with services that cater to high-growth mobile markets worldwide. It’s application has brought cheap mobile messaging to people who do not have smartphones in emerging economies. Saya Messenger is used in over 35 countries worldwide with Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, India, and Indonesia being it’s biggest markets. Saya Messenger cuts the cost of messaging for people in these markets by over a 1000 times allowing the people that need cheap messaging to enjoy it. Saya’s  Streetchat feature which groups people in the same location into a chatroom was used by feature phone users during the Syrian and Egyptian uprising for communication. The company was a TechCrunch Disrupt finalist in 2012 and has gone on to win other awards both locally and internationally. Saya was founded by Robert Lamptey and Badu Boahen, both graduates of the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST), a program that provides training, investment and mentoring for aspiring technology entrepreneurs in Africa. Saya’s investors include the Meltwater Foundation, Forward Partners and Progress through Business.

For more information, visit: www.saya.im

For further queries, please contact

For Kirusa
Alchemy Corporate Communications
Anju Makin
India Tel: +91-9810170135
USA Tel: +1-973-536-2652
E-mail: anju_makin@alchemycc.com

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DevCongress 2013 Recap – Part 2

cont’d from Recap: Part I


After lunch, Jeffrey Godwyll of Ghana Technology University College opened the second phase with his talk on Google App Engine. For most developers, we would want to quickly host a project for a client to view online. If you cannot use Google Drive to do that, an alternative is App Engine which currently works on PHP, Python and Go.


Joel leads the talk on Design Patterns
Design patterns was the next tech talk delivered by Joel Funu. Joel talked about the various techniques to solve programming bottlenecks with design patterns.


Another great part of DevCongress events is the rich opportunity to meet new developers and strengthen your network. That was the focus of the next 15 minutes or so. Developers made new friends and reconnected with old ones. The hallways and lounges were filled with laughter from shared memories and new ones being created.


At this year’s conference, we chose 3 topics for our workshop; Chrome DevTools, Agile Development and Version Control with Git. The workshop sessions run concurrently in 3 different classrooms. These topics were chosen because most developers identify with at least one of these. For Chrome DevTools, Yaw Boakye lead the session. We also had two MEST fellows teach the other sessions; Rhys Moyna taught Agile Development while Nikunj Handa led the Version Control session.


The final tech talk for the day was an introduction to NodeJS by Precious Ewusi Nyarko. He took participants through the process of creating and running a simple HTTP server with nodeJS. Though it was the last talk, it had loads of energy to keep people alive.


Final item on the program was the more action driven activity, what we call the “Way Forward”. We believe that developers should be able to collaborate on various projects, which is one of our objectives. During this time, we decided to take up projects that would have high impact on the community and the tech space as a whole. Based on the earlier reaction to SMSGh’s job search processes, the participants agreed to develop a job posting service for developers. The project is currently underway on our git repo for any developers who are interested to join in.


The general reaction was that developers look to HackerNews, TechCrunch, etc as news sources. Again, they agreed to create a Google Chrome extension which will be a news feed for our blog. That project is available for collaboration on GitHub.


One impressive person we got to know during our preparations was Michael Turkson who was so excited about DevCongress that he created a Google Map route for anybody who needed directions to the venue on Saturday.


DevCongress 2013 finally ended on Saturday, and we’re glad about the excitement and encouragement from people.


We would like to extend our gratitude to the staff and students of the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology for believing in our idea and giving us the support we needed. Also to Blogging Ghana, we would like to thank you for featuring us on your blog. For all who spoke, attended, blogged, posted on various social networks and supported us in various ways, we thank you.


Follow us on Twitter and check devcongress.com for frequent updates on our upcoming events, and more importantly for opportunities to contribute to projects and develop yourself as a developer.

To my teammates, Yaw and Elorm, you rock!

DevCongress 2013 Recap – Part 1

On the 24th of August 2013, we wrote history beginning the first of many DevCongress conferences and events at the DevCongress 2013.

DevCongress is a developer community aimed at training Ghana’s developers through conferences, code camps, hackathons, etc. We believe that if Ghanaian developers are equipped with the necessary resources they will be able to handle any challenge the tech startup scene may encounter.

This post recounts what happened on the maiden launch of the tech network that aims to be the most vibrant across Africa. I happened on the 24th of August 2013 at MEST.


I was glad to be the MC of the occasion, an honour given me by my teammates, Elorm Adjaho and Yaw Boakye.


Elorm opened the event with a warm poetic welcome address. The address touched on the fact that Africa is rising and that Ghanaian developers should rise with the opportunity that comes with Africa’s growth.


Nii Nai speaks on Go Lang 

1st Tech talk: Davis Abubakr-Sadik delivered the first talk on Go lang. This was an eye-opener to Google’s programming language. And it was revealing as to the volume of products which have been built with Go. It was more revealing to find out that dl.google.com was solidly powered by Go. We also got to know that Esoko also develops some of its products in Go.

At DevCongress, one of the practices we want to encourage is bringing in experts in a particular industry to talk on opportunities for software developers in that space. For our first conference, we had Mark Davies of Esoko come in to speak to us about which agricultural ideas have been exploited already, and he also pointed out that Esoko had, and was still building extensive data on farmers which developers could take advantage of.


Next was what I can call the most revealing topic of the day, Bitcoins. It was well-delivered by Mawuli Adzoe of Saya. Apparently, most developers present were not aware of bitcoins and its increasing popularity. He took time to explain what went into mining, how many bitcoins there could be, and everything else one needed to know. Personally, I was having a good time but there were so many questions and so little time. If you were not present, you missed an opportunity to get few free bitcents to start you up. How exciting is that!


The panel (L-R, Alfred Rowe, Abdul-Majeed Rufai, Alex Adjei Bram)
Still on the issue of money, we dived into our panel discussion on Electronic and Mobile payments in Ghana. The aim of the discussion was to know the current state of affairs on the side of the providers. On the panel, we had Alfred Rowe of mPower payments, Abdul-Majeed Rufai from MTN Ghana and Alex Adjei Bram of SMSGh. Their conversations were insightful and knowledgeable especially to our course. It was more revealing to find out that SMSGh had initiated a developers’ competition relating to their APIs, and most developers present were not even aware. We also learned, unfortunately, that they outsourced job to developers outside Ghana. This, we hope will change when the DevCongress Jobs Board us up and running. In the end, developers were aware of the need to build on these existing platforms so that electronic payments processing in Ghana will be seamless.


This was followed by a long break for lunch and interaction. It was a good time to ask questions and create engaging conversations.

In the next post, I will run you through the exciting activities after lunch and the great projects the great minds gathered put together. You will be amazed.