Nosa Omusi, Thursday September 6th 2018

MEST Lagos has partnered with Honeywell Group, one of the largest diversified enterprises in Nigeria, to launch their inaugural Itanna Accelerator Program. The Itanna Accelerator kicked off on August 6th, 2018 as an innovation program for tech-enabled Nigerian startups and is hosted in its newly launched Enterprise Factory in Lagos. The four participating startups will receive $25,000 in investment from the Honeywell Group, along with hands-on support and access to Honeywell’s extensive network. The accelerator program will take place over the course of 16 weeks and will culminate in a final demo day.

[caption id="attachment_7297" align="aligncenter" width="665"] The Itanna and MEST team on the first day of the program[/caption]

This partnership is part of MEST Africa’s drive to engage more closely with corporate partners and find synergies that can help promote technology and innovation on the continent.

According to MEST Managing Director Aaron Fu, "At MEST, we've seen a number of our startups accelerate their scale by partnering with some of the continent's leading corporates. We've seen what truly enabled these collaborations to work and what stood in their way. We're looking forward to sharing some of this expertise and experience with corporations looking to embrace working with startups to create genuine shared value."

As the accelerator’s training partner, MEST will help Itanna build and deliver a world-class accelerator curriculum that meets the needs of the startups and the requirements for sustainable growth and scaling on the African continent. The curriculum covers Marketing and Communications, Technology and Business. Delivered via a mix of lectures and mentorship sessions, the goal is to accelerate the life cycle of participating startups,enable them scale according to key milestones such as customer traction, and quickly raise funding.

[caption id="attachment_7298" align="aligncenter" width="665"] Cross-section of the Itanna Cohort[/caption]

Director of Itanna and Head of Innovation and Sustainability at Honeywell group,  Tomi Otudeko, said of the group’s relationship with MEST, “We decided to partner with MEST to deliver on the training aspect of the programme given their 10-year experience in developing entrepreneurs from across the continent. MEST have been able to partner to develop a curriculum that addresses the particular needs of our cohort and continues to be mindful of the program's overall objectives.”

The accelerator cohort is made up of four companies, chosen from over 200 applicants. Selected companies are:

  • Accounteer - providers of online accounting services for SMEs across Africa

  • Kolopay - a cashless target savings mobile and web application

  • TradeBuza - an online platform for managing and brokering commodities sourcing and outgrower scheme

  • PowerCube - providers of an affordable power supply using renewable energy

Check back for updates from Itanna, as we highlight company journeys, outcomes and next steps..