Jorn Lyseggen founded Meltwater in 2001 with only $15,000. As of 2016, the company has grown to serve more than 25,000 clients around the world and is now a global leader in the online media monitoring and analytics space. Encouraged by that success, Lyseggen, who believes that talent is everywhere, went on to create the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) to give aspiring entrepreneurs in Africa a chance to create successful companies and create jobs and wealth locally.
Founded in 2008 in Accra, Ghana, MEST recruits entrepreneurs-in-training (EITs) from Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa. The EITs undergo an intensive, fully sponsored year-long training program and afterwards pitch their business concept for investment and incubation at the Meltwater Incubator.
During the training program, the EITs live together in Accra, and MEST covers their tuition, accommodation, meals, and provides a monthly stipend. The EITs with the most promising business concepts receive investment through MEST’s Seed Fund. Celine Duros, Director of Operations & Partnerships at MEST, estimates that MEST invests $300,000-$400,000 annually into local start-ups.
Since inception in 2008, more than 400 entrepreneurs have been through the MEST training program and the Meltwater Foundation has invested more than $20 million. Among the companies that have received investments are Saya, an instant messaging app that was later acquired by Kirusa, ClaimSync, which automates patient records, and Tress, a hairstyle inspiration app.
To handle the organization’s financials, MEST needed a system that would enable it to to accurately track how much money it received and report how the money had been spent.
With NetSuite, MEST is able to do this and more – make informed, cost-savings decisions on program expenditures and reduce the time required for annual auditing.
NetSuite's software donation has enabled MEST to achieve the greater efficiency, providing the opportunity for MEST to route its limited resources into its year-long training program and incubator.
Looking down the road, Duros looks forward to doing more with NetSuite, realizing it’s an incredibly powerful tool. In the same way, the future looks bright for the more than 400 African entrepreneurs who’ve received training and support from MEST and Duros looks forward to working with MEST to continue to support innovative business ideas in Africa.
To learn more about NetSuite’s software donation program, visit www.netsuite.org/apply-for-donation.