MEST entrepreneurs clean up at Hack4Oil in Ghana

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Entrepreneurs-in-training from Ghana’s Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST) won all three top prizes at the Hack4Oil Hackathon in Accra organised by Penplusbytes.

The two-day event, held at the New Media Hub, brought together programmers, entrepreneurs and civil society organisations to find ways to use technology to bring transparency and accountability to Ghana’s oil and gas sector.

Participants – divided into nine teams and assisted by industry experts – were required to come up with a solution, build a functioning prototype, and pitch it to panel of judges.

Winning teams all hailed from MEST, with first prize going to Team Oil Journey for developing a website that allows users to follow the money from oil revenues as it is spent by the government on various social and civil projects.

Second place went to Team Bale, which designed a web platform to help local small businesses take advantage of business opportunities in the oil and gas sector, while Team Planeteers came in third for a service allowing citizens and non-government organisations (NGOs) who live and work in areas impacted by oil and gas exploration to submit findings and data for use by the media in highlighting issues arising from oil exploration.

“The passion, energy and commitment that these young bright individuals showed as they tried to solve the problems within the oil and gas industry using technology was simply amazing and very inspiring,” MEST managing director Ekua Odoom told Disrupt Africa.

“We have a generation of bright talented youth that will take the world by storm. I have complete faith in them. The standards they set were very impressive and they developed high quality solutions in less than 48 hours. I hope to see more events focusing on how tech can solve our social needs and drive change.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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