|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.
And the winner is…
After three gruelling days of sleepless nights and tireless #hacking, 19 apps were finally showcased in a keenly contested battle of hackers. The five main categories were in health, security/alert services, lifestyle/home services, entertainment/games, and transportation/traffic management services. On the whole for some of the ideas, while not particularly novelty, the implementation was quite interesting. In the spirit of simplification the real trick here was about making the app practical, easily accessible and relevant to Ghanaians.
|Team CheckIt crowned 2015 #MESTVodafone Hackathon Champions
This hackathon was by many standards very different. There were three levels of assessment; source code review, functionality implementation and pitches(comprising business, pitch quality among other critics considerations). At the end of the event, two teams emerged as winners and runners up. CheckIt, the 2015 #MESTVodafone Hackathon Champions took on the challenge of addressing the nagging issue fake drug peddling in Africa, particularly in Ghana. While their idea is not necessarily novelty, the simplicity of the implementation, the intuitiveness and appeal of the app, and the potential impact seems to have won the hearts of the highly esteemed judges. RoadMate, on the other hand seeks to give real time traffic updates and suggest shortest routes, public transport fares among many benefits to the regular public transport user in Ghana. They choose the crowd sourcing approach which seems to fill the nagging gap in the current Google Maps and Google Navigator due to the almost none existent addressing system in Ghana.
|Team RoadMate comes up runners up in the 2015 #MESTVodafone Hackathon.
Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology(MEST) and Vodafone Ghana extend their congratulations to the well deserving teams. All the participants are also invited to the after party at GIMPA.
DevCongress, a proud supporter of the biggest true hackathon in Ghana says a big AYIKOOO to CheckIt and RoadMate. We hope you don’t abandon the idea and go to sleep. For once, let a fully fledged idea come out of a hackathon. That is the dream!
Here is a peep into the winning apps.
Some highlight from the pitch day
#Hacking continues unabated.
After the festive opening of the biggest hackathon of the year, the #MESTVodafone #Hackathon kicked into full gear by day 2. 19 teams/app had been fully confirmed. Hacker have worked feverishly all through the night. It was impressive to find people on code-steroids hacking almost nonstop for 48 hours! The energy and drive is amazing. It is a great feeling in here.
The ideas are another thing. The innovation, the simplistic genius and the tenacity to solve problems is most commendable. Definitely one of the hacks must see the light of day.
One of the ideas that caught attention almost immediately is CaptureIT. They present the most simple way to enable journalist get almost instant access to photos of events around the world as they happen. This takes news crowdsourcing up one notch. Even more interesting is Trodini. Imagine yourself late for a very important meeting and want to get there even faster. Trodden is what will get you there. It crowdsources shortest routs to various locations and real time traffic updates to help users get there on time. It also rewards you to posting your shortcut routes.
|Trodini gets you there twice as fast!
As promised, this is not going to be your usual #kpakpakpa code. There will be special source code review and feature implementation test before the pitches. Loaded!
Here are other highlights of day 2.
The sun rose quickly, almost in a hurry to see the hackathon begin. The eventful partnership between Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) was announced in pump and splendour with the C.E.O of Vodafone Harris Broumidis and the Managing Director of MEST Ekua Odoom in attendance.
This was quickly followed by a quick and exciting launch of the hackathon. The participants then went on a pitching spree selling their ideas and skills to another. By end of the day the 150 plus participants had formed 20 teams with different innovative ideas in the areas of Lifestyle and home services, security and alert systems, health, gaming and entertainment, and transportation and traffic. These keenly passionate developers had gathered to brainstorm on pragmatic solutions to pertinent issues plaguing Ghanaians in the above mentioned areas.
“On the whole it has been a great event so far. I have met really nice people and I think we have the winning team (DATEEM). The reception has been great and the food as well. The highest point of my day has the fantastic facilitators who have helped us snapped our idea. This is just great.” says Stephan Froelich, IBM End User Support officer, @frostymarvelous
Here are a few pictures of the day. Stay tuned for more updates. Day 1 is ending but hacking continues unabated. Good luck all.