Kwely, a Senegalese digital firm, has won the 2022 MEST Africa Challenge (MAC), a pan-African startup pitch competition.
Birame Sock, a Senegalese entrepreneur, established the digital platform Kwely to distribute African-made products.
Kwely joins MAC’s other successful startups, like Kilimo Fresh in Tanzania, OZE in Ghana, Snode Technologies in South Africa, Waya Waya in Kenya, and Accounteer in Nigeria, with a US$50,000 equity investment and access to expert business coaches, mentors, and global investors.
“Winning the MEST Africa Challenge means a lot to the Kwely Team and me.” Although becoming an entrepreneur is never easy, it is my true calling. Receiving this appreciation offers us the confidence and support we need to move forward. Birame Sock, Kwely’s founder and CEO, stated that it is critical to remember that we have a network of wonderful people around us who are rooting for us when times are rough.
The female-founded firm was selected the winner out of four other startups from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa that made the finals.
The winners were announced at the Demo Day and Final Pitch Competition in Accra at the end of a four-month program that whittled down over 500 technology startups from five African countries.
The 2022 MEST Africa Challenge was conducted in conjunction with Absa Bank Ghana and supported by Codeln, Copianto, Google, Dream VC, Heny, Impact Hub-Dakar, Hubspot for Startups, Paystack, and Wiflix.
Following the application round of the competition’s web platform, a shortlist of 36 technology startups from five different African countries was released. These startups were asked to compete in the regional pitch competition, where the top five finalists were chosen.
Sproutly (Nigeria), Kwely (Senegal), Hisa (Kenya), and Desert Green Africa (South Africa), the regional champions and finalists from Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa, were flown to Ghana to represent their countries on Demo Day.
The MEST Africa Challenge (MAC), created in 2018, has provided a venue for hundreds of technology entrepreneurs throughout the continent to acquire funds, build professional networks, and gain global recognition.
When the competition opened in July, startups from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Senegal, and South Africa submitted hundreds of applications.