The Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) is now taking applications for its Entrepreneurs-In-Training (EITs) programme from Côte d'Ivoire, the first French-speaking country in which they will have a presence.

The announcement was made at the Africa Web Festival in Côte d'Ivoire, which starts on 30th November and runs until 1st December at the Rue du Lycée Technique Abidjan Cocody, and will bring together 6,000 attendees.

MEST’s Head of Partnerships, Celine Duros will be speaking on Wednesday about plans to support tech entrepreneurs from Côte d'Ivoire, and the organization will also host recruitment sessions for the next cohort of EITs for the duration of the Festival.

The expansion makes Côte d'Ivoire MEST's fifth African country, and the move will hopefully help to bridge the gap between the English-speaking and French-speaking African economies, expanding the tech ecosystem even further.

The MEST expansion strategy involves a phased rollout of incubators in key economic centers on the continent, replicating the successful operating model and expanding the power of the network for all MEST portfolio companies to quickly scale across Africa once they’ve found an idea that works.

Admitted applicants to the MEST Training Program receive a full scholarship to a one-year entrepreneurial training program that blends an MBA-type education with hands-on training in software development. During the program, students form teams, develop a software product, write business plans, and craft investor pitches. The strongest and most promising business concepts receive between $50,000 to $100,000 USD in equity investment to support the launch of their businesses.

Teams that receive investment enter the MEST Incubator, where they receive continued hands-on support as they launch and grow their businesses. To date, the MEST Incubator has invested in over 25 companies and backed more than 75 co-founders. These companies have developed solutions addressing local and global markets, created jobs locally, received outside follow-on funding from global investors, and gained admittance to top accelerator programs such as 500 Startups, Y Combinator and TechStars.

With the addition of Côte d'Ivoire, MEST is now accepting applications from Ivorians, Ghanaians, Kenyans, Nigerians and South Africans who wish to spend a year at the flagship campus in Accra, Ghana to take part in an intensive entrepreneurial training program, launch their own software startup, and pitch to receive seed funding from the Meltwater Foundation.

Applications are now open for those wishing to enroll in that cohort that begins August 2017.

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