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Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST)

Ever wondered what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

The professional and personal challenges, the high and lows, the failures and the success?

Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 1800 past events in 120 countries around the world in 2014.

The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.

Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, register now for the best weekend of your life!

The winner of SW Accra will receive a prize package (details coming soon) and will also qualify to go on to compete in our second annual Global Startup Battle, the world’s largest startup competition!

By participating in our Global Startup Battle, your team will be competing against the winners of Startup Weekend events all around the world for awesome prizes such as:

  • A VIP Trip to Rio De Janeiro for Global Entrepreneurship Congress – sponsored by Global Entrepreneurship Week.
  • A FREE trip to San Francisco to tour Googleplex and meet with founders, mentors, and investors – sponsored by Startup Weekend and Google.
  • $5,000 in-kind PR Launch Package for your SW team – sponsored by Geben Communication.
  • $5,000 worth of Design Services for your SW team – sponsored by Btrax.
  • $5,000 Incorporation & Legal Package – sponsored by Cooley LLP.



Nov 16
  • Registration Starts
  • Refreshments/Snacks & Networking
  • Welcome & Speakers
  • Pitches Start
  • Attendees vote for the top ideas
  • Teams start forming and discussing ideas
  • Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow
  • Venue closes


Nov 17
  • Arrive, simple breakfast
  • Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend
  • Lunch
  • Call for needs & skills
  • Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!
  • Dinner
  • Mid weekend check-in, status reports, call for help
  • Venue closes


Nov 18
  • Arrive, simple breakfast
  • Call for help (this is self motivated, so don’t be shy)
  • Lunch
  • Gut check. Start prepping for presentations
  • Tech Check at Lizzy
  • Refreshments/Snacks
  • Pitches Start
  • Judging & awards
  • Wrapup
  • Go home!
Platinum Sponsors

David Osei

CEO/Co-Founder at Dropifi

David is the CEO and co-founder at Dropifi, winners of last year's SW Accra event.

David is a graduate from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) with a degree in Mathematics (Bsc.). He works in 8 programming languages and is extremely passionate about technology growth in Africa.

Over the last year, David and his co-founders Kamil Nabong and Effah Philips Mensah have received numerous awards on behalf of Dropifi including the Top App in Ghana for 2012. Most recently, Dropifi was named winner of GEW's Startup Open.

Gold Sponsors

Ian Ziddah

Product Planning & Development Manager at MTN Ghana

Ian works at MTN Ghana creating products and services for businesses. He has been an important contributor to establishing the MTN Business brand in Ghana. He is a seasoned communications technology expert with good business acumen. He is currently participating on the Duke University Fuqua Global Executive MBA program. His previous consulting and project engineering roles spanned telecom companies within Europe Middle East and Africa.

Ekwow Spio-Garbrah

Former CEO of Commonwealth Telecommunications

Ekwow has more than 35 years of experience at senior levels within the spheres of International Organisations, Banking and Finance, Government, Church Administration and Diplomacy, and Telecom and ICT. His most recent positions held include: CEO of Action Church International, President of the Dominion University College, and CEO of Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation. Ekwow also formerly served as the Minister of Communication and Minister of Education of the Republic of Ghana.

Richard Tanksley

Senior Faculty and Program Manager at MEST

Richard Tanksley is the senior faculty and program director for the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology. Rich has extensive experience in IT and operations management domestically and internationally. He has directed IT functions in large organizations like Motorola and the US Army, and has served as CTO of numerous startups. Rich has started several companies ranging from technology consulting and software/web development to real estate/construction and industrial tool import and export. He has grown several companies in the US, internationally, and most recently, developed the technology division of a large retail chain in Cameroon after also directing the launch of a mobile phone software product in the country. Rich has directed the international expansion of four companies and has worked, lived and traveled in more than 30 countries. A life-long learner, Rich has a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico, did post graduate work at the Univeristy of Houson and Georgia Tech and is always studying French somewhere. A former professional ski instructor, Rich stays active by running, playing tennis and practicing Muay Thai. To relax, he likes to cook for friends and is a patron of numerous arts

Sammie Rayner

Founder and Executive Director at Lumana Credit

Sammie Rayner is the Executive Director and founder of Lumana, a microfinance and economic development organization that engages the next generation of global social entrepreneurs in alleviating poverty in Africa. Sammie implemented the pilot financial services and business education program for Lumana in 2008 and has been lead organizer for the organization's strategic expansion since. Sammie has a BA from the University of Washington Foster School of Business with a focus on international business and French. When not in Ghana, she stays engaged with her local community in Seattle by volunteering as an Alumni Board Member with the Social Entrepreneurship Club on UW campus and is also a 2011-2012 World Affairs Council Fellow. Sammie was also named one of Seattle’s “New Heroes” during the Seattle Center’s 50th Anniversary celebration of the World’s Fair which features young global leaders from across the U.S.

When not at work, Sammie has a passion for making up new recipes, exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest outdoors, and traveling as much as possible.

Ehi Binitie

Co-Founder/Chief Product Officer at Rancard Solutions

In 2001, Ehi co-founded Rancard Solutions with his friend and business partner Kofi Dadzie , with a view to create a globally relevant software technology company out of Africa.

Ten years on, Rancard is one of Africa's leading mobile software technology firm's, providing a cloud based mobile platform for delivery, discovery and monetization and is used by companies like Google, BBC, ESPN, VOA , MTV deliver & monetize content and services targeted at mobile users in Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia.

To date the platform has delivered over a billion transactions and connects content partners to over 40 mobile operators and over 100 million mobile phone users.

In 2011, Rancard was a top 15 fnalist in the LEGATUM AFRICA AWARDS FOR ENTRAPRENEURSHIP, out of over 3000 business in Africa.

A passionate problem solver and entrepreneur , Ehi currently leads Rancard's efforts in using social recommendations to help mobile users across Africa discover things they might find fun, useful or relevant via their mobile phones.

He has an EE degree from KNUST , Ghana and is on leave from a research masters at Oxford University.


Emmanuel Afutu

Project Manager, Business Solutions Division, MTN

Nana Osei Afrifa

Innovations Manager, Marketing Division, MTN

With over 12 years of both local and international corporate experience, Nana Osei Afrifa brings to
the STARTUP WEEKEND a wealth of experience from the worlds of IT and Business development. Not
a stranger to startups, he successfully set up an IT Consulting firm, Vokacom in 2002 after investing
proceeds from his first consulting job in 1999 while a student at the KNUST. Having to move back to
Accra after school in Kumasi, he sold off the Vokacom franchise after numerous and persistent offers in

He then began his first job with MTN Ghana (Then Areeba) as a Developer with the IT department
in 2005. Here his skills were brought to the fore during the massive rebranding from Areeba to MTN
that took the whole country by storm. His immense contribution to the development of new product
and service architecture within tight schedules and the company’s website development earned him
recognition among his peers when he was awarded with a Yello Star by MTN Ghana.

Higher education came calling and when an opportunity arose to attend the prestigious University of
Kent in Canterbury for a Certificate in Distributed Systems and Networks in 2007, Nana found himself
heeding to this call. He completed in 2008 and was immediately roped into Supatrak in Swindon, UK and
was appointed Head of Development (IT) where he worked for 3 years.

Not wanting to be a continual contributor to the brain drain syndrome, Nana came back to Ghana in
2010 and found himself swamped with consulting offers from various industries. His sense of adventure
saw him take up the role of I.T Manager at GIHOC Distilleries, Director of Corporate Affairs at the
Excellence Awards Foundation and IT Consultant with the Sterling Hotels Group owners of the plush
Fiesta Royale Hotel in Ghana between 2010 and 2011.

He finally went back to his first employers MTN Ghana in 2011 and has assumed the roles of Innovations
Manager, Contents and Portals Manager and is now the VAS(Value Added Services) Manager with
projects under his belt.

Aside the work world, Nana has shown his passion for sharing knowledge by taking up lecturing roles in
Ashesi University (2006) and the University of Applied management (2010) where he has taught Web
Design, Software Development (C++) and Introduction to Computers to various students ranging from
2nd Year to MBA students.

Nana’s role as coach at this STARTUP WEEKEND is therefore apt given his wealth of experience. This,
along with his mentoring and motivation skills will be at the disposal of potential mentees to ensure
they have a meaningful insight into entrepreneurship and how to survive in the Ghanaian business

Nana is married to Florence Afrifa with whom he has a son, Papa Kojo Ahenkorah Afrifa. He likes to play
chess and watch football and TV in his spare time.

Derrydean Dadzie

CEO/Co-Founder of DreamOval

Derry, co-founded Dream Oval in 2007. He’s been described as part of Africa’s emerging class of young entrepreneurs who present a challenge to Western ideas of development. He guides the Dream Oval team to deliver cutting edge mobile and internet solutions to meet the needs of businesses and the socially excluded. With vast experience in the mobile and internet software services industry, he’s been cited in diverse articles and presentations on mobile technology and entrepreneurship in Africa. He also takes time to speak at various conferences relating to mobile technology.

Regina Agyare

CEO/Founder of Soronko Solutions

Regina is a young female software developer and social entrepreneur with a passion for using technology to cause a social change. She started a social business called Soronko Solutions that leverages on innovative technology solutions across different channels such as Web, Mobile, POS and ATM to solve problems. She is currently helping Small and medium Scale Enterprises in Ghana create visibility and grow their business with technology. She is also working on a technology solution that will revolutionize the way education is taught and received in Ghana and Sub Saharan Africa.

Regina has been in the technology industry for 8 years and has worked in varying positions as Product Manager for Internet Applications at Rancard Solutions, Product Manager for Ebusiness Applications at Zenith Bank and Management and Information Systems Supervisor at Fidelity Bank. Regina is passionate about getting more women to study and have careers in Science, Technology, Maths And Engineering. She also believes in young people who have brilliant ideas, passion and drive starting their own business. She loves to mentor and has been invited to speak and mentor at barcamps, technology fairs, Ashesi Events and is an online mentor with the Women's Tech Connect Global mentoring program.

Eric Crowther

Director of Operations at Lumana

Eric currently acts as Lumana’s Director of Operations in Ghana. He monitors the effectiveness of Lumana’s programs, interacts with the community, and oversees Lumana’s growth. Eric began work with Lumana as the International Fellows Coordinator in the summer of 2011. Besides managing the fellows, he headed our impact evaluation, developed new loan products, and helped Lumana extend credit to additional clients. Before coming to Lumana, he worked with microcredit and gardening programs in Mozambique, studied microcredit in The Philippines, and lived in Mexico. Eric has an MA in international development from the Evans School of Public Affairs at the University of Washington.

Ato Ulzen-Appiah

CEO/Founder at Museke

Stephen Gyasi-Kwaw
Ernest Asiedu Caesar
Nana Sarfo Anim
Thomas Oppong
Donald Ward
Ato Ulzeh-Appiah
Brett Nakatsu

SW Accra 2012

by brett

Registration for SW Accra 2012 is now open! You can pay by credit card or choose to pay at the […]

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