Image (c) by http://www.flickr.com/photos/geezaweezer/
LinkedIn is in some kind of trouble these days with 6.5 million passwords being stolen, but to me LinkedIn is a hero. Because it was thanks to LinkedIn that I discovered something incredible today: The Meltwater entrepreneurial school of technology or MEST in Accra, Ghana. This school is a NGO spin-off from the Meltwater Group, a highly successful software company founded in 2001 in Norway – started with just US $15,000, a trusty coffee machine and a really exciting vision:
“The Meltwater Group enters growth markets where new technology enables outsiders to challenge existing business models and market leaders sleeping in class.”
Today, over 800 employees in 55 offices work for the Meltwater Group. This is impressive and still, they took it to the next level with MEST. Not only do they invest money in new start-ups and entrepreneurs in Ghana, which means ‘Warrior King’ , just in case you wondered about the title of the post. But they provide training, mentoring and education in this region. And this is in my opinion even more important. Having started his own business with little capital as well, Meltwater’s CEO John Lyseggen, who developed the MEST concept, probably thinks the same way and consequently follows his belief that talent is everywhere and that people can achieve great things everywhere with the right support and guidance.
There seem to be a few more initiatives of this kind in Africa already. It looks to me, as if these are mostly limited to financial funding and don’t share the same belief and trust in people. But in general and for Africa in particular, the combination of financial investment and altruistic training, mentoring and education is the winning formula. And I am so glad to see this happen with MEST.
Thank you, John and Meltwater. Your MEST NGO is melting the Global Digital Divide.