Senegalese digital startup Kwely has been named the winner of the 2022 MEST Africa Challenge (MAC), a pan-African startup pitch competition.
Birame Sock, a Senegalese entrepreneur, launched the digital platform Kwely to distribute products made in Africa.
Kwely receives US$50,000 in equity investment, access to experienced business coaches, mentors, and global investors, joining MAC’s other successful firms such as Kilimo Fresh in Tanzania, OZE in Ghana, Snode Technologies in South Africa, Waya Waya in Kenya, and Accounteer in Nigeria.
“For the Kwely Team and I, winning the MEST Africa Challenge means a lot. Although being an entrepreneur is never simple, it is truly my passion. Receiving this acknowledgement gives us the encouragement and assurance we require to move forward. Birame Sock, founder and CEO of Kwely, remarked that it is crucial to keep in mind that we have a network of incredible individuals around us who are rooting for us when times are tough.
Out of four other startups from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa that made the finals, the female-founded startup was named the winner.
At the end of a four-month program during which over 500 technology startups from five African countries were narrowed down, the winners were announced at the Demo Day and Final Pitch Competition held in Accra.
The 2022 MEST Africa Challenge was sponsored by Codeln, Copianto, Google, Dream VC, Heny, Impact Hub-Dakar, Hubspot for Startups, Paystack, and Wiflix and organized in collaboration with Absa Bank Ghana.
A shortlist of 36 technology startups from five different African nations was announced after the application stage of the competition’s web platform. These startups were invited to participate in the regional pitch competition, from which the final five finalists were selected.
The regional champions and finalists from Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa, Sproutly (Nigeria), Kwely (Senegal), Hisa (Kenya), and Desert Green Africa (South Africa), were flown to Ghana to represent their countries on Demo Day.
The MEST Africa Challenge (MAC), which was founded in 2018, has given hundreds of technology entrepreneurs throughout the continent a platform to raise money, develop professional networks, and earn recognition on a worldwide scale.
Startups from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Senegal, and South Africa submitted hundreds of applications to this year’s competition when it started in July.