This is a very interesting stuff in West Africa! There is a school in Ghana that trains students for two years – purely for software engineering. The aim is to train them and make them entrepreneurs who will create jobs in West Africa.
The school is called Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) and was established in Accra, Ghana, through the non-profit Meltwater Foundation, with the aim of creating jobs and wealth locally in Africa by training young Africans to become software entrepreneurs. Students go through intensive and during this intensive two-year program at MEST, Entrepreneurs in Training (EITs) work with experienced business executives, university graduates and current MBA students from top universities worldwide to develop software applications and prepare them for launch in the global marketplace.
It is a three way approach with training, incubation and mentoring phases as follows:
The Meltwater Foundation offers a three-phase entrepreneurial program designed to foster the growth of software companies in Africa. The program begins at the MEST campus in Accra, Ghana, with a rigorous, two-year training program. EITs with business ideas that are deemed to be viable then move to the MEST Incubator for assistance in getting their businesses off the ground. Finally, the Meltwater Foundation and its networks of experienced mentors and advisors provide mentorship for companies that emerge from the incubator.
PHASE 1: Training
MEST offers a two-year, full-time, fully sponsored training program in which the students – known as Entrepreneurs in Training (EITs) – learn about software development and entrepreneurship from Senior Faculty, who each bring more than 20 years of experience in the software business in the United States, Europe or Asia. EITs also benefit from working with recent university graduates who serve as Teaching Fellows and MBA students from around the world.
The MEST program provides rigorous entrepreneurial training and extensive hands-on project work, designed so EITs master industry-proven methodologies for software development. Each year MEST organizes a series of guest lectures, featuring the experiences and insights of internationally recognized executives and successful entrepreneurs.
PHASE 2: Incubation
The MEST Incubator is where graduates from the training program are afforded an opportunity to bring their business ideas to life and launch their businesses.
Only MEST EITs with approved business plans are eligible to participate in the incubator, where they will be awarded initial seed funding from the Meltwater Foundation in exchange for a minority equity stake in the business. Additionally, the MEST Incubator provides physical infrastructure, and more importantly gives access to a global network of advisors and contacts that will be critical in providing an ecosystem for these budding entrepreneurs to flourish. The incubator will also partner with local incubators in San Francisco and London to enable easier access to these important markets.
PHASE 3: Mentorship
Once a company emerges from the MEST Incubator, the Meltwater Foundation will continue to provide support through international mentors who serve as board members or company advisors. The mentorship program enables the company to optimize its chances for international commercial deployment, recruiting mentors from a group of world-class executives and entrepreneurs who bring experience from relevant target markets.