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Scale Up Africa

A Royal Academy of Engineering Africa Prize alumni programme, powered by Nest

Ready to go global? Want to explore the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia? Want to access multinational clients? Designed for Africa Prize alumni targeting rapid-growth, the Scale Up Africa programme brings you the skills, mentorship and networks you need to achieve the extraordinary. 


As entrepreneurs, we understand that starting a business is hard, but growing one is even harder. That’s why the Scale Up Africa programme will help you tackle the main growth-stage challenges - landing more and bigger customers, scaling to new markets, and finding partners and securing investment. 


Benefit from the dedicated support of leading Asian market experts, local corporate leaders and tailored guidance from our experienced startup coaches; participate in growth-hacking workshops and ecosystem events; connect to the most active VC’s, family offices and angel investors.



What to expect:

- The 12 week programme comprises two trips to deliver interactive seminars and pre-aligned meetings, with the goal of landing new business and investment - first to Bangkok and then Nairobi. 

- Explore the high-growth markets of Southeast Asia, with a two-week bootcamp based in Bangkok. Topics include: attracting impact investment, new market validation and 1:1 deep dives for commercial business development.

[10th February – 21st February 2020]


- Access a global network of investors, corporate clients and partners, and discuss 1:1 opportunities to accelerate your business and scale throughout the Southeast Asian economies.


- Participate in investor speed dating in Nairobi, to access leading institutional and family office investors in the startup ecosystem. 

[16th March - 18th March 2020]


- Guidance and advice from leading entrepreneurs and industry veterans as mentors.

At Nest, we empower entrepreneurs who have the ambition and drive to change the world. Do you have what it takes? 


Get ready! 

The core programme will consist of 4 stages

Phase one: Preparing alumni business models for global expansion. 


With support from ecosystem mentors and Nest experts, the founders will build out their business models for global markets.


Activities will include:


- 1:1 Bespoke business deep dives


- Bootcamp: 10th February – 21st February  [two weeks in Bangkok, Thailand] covering various topics, examples of which are listed in the table below:

Example Bootcamp Topics for week one [Bangkok, Thailand]


Be introduced to a series of regional and global investors with scheduled 1:1 meetings that will occur throughout the 10 day bootcamp in Bangkok, Thailand.

Example week two sessions will include: growth-hacking; fundraising principles; how to build a sustainable business with financial and social impact; and networking with corporates and investors.

Phase two: Building investor & commercial readiness.


Startups will be supported in preparing for meetings with global investors and corporate partners. Following the preparations, introductions will be made to relevant parties that could help you grow and scale your business.


During this phase, you’ll be supported by dedicated mentors to help prepare you for upcoming meetings with investors and corporates. Learn to identify your commercial offering and funding needs, and receive regular support from the Nest team in refining and finalising your pitch materials.


We are aware that as a founder, you are likely covering several critical roles, so we have crafted Phase two of the programme to be conducted entirely remotely, enabling you to return to your business needs domestically at this time.

Phase three: Introductions to investors in the Kenyan ecosystem. 

During this phase, you will meet with suitable investors to explore funding opportunities in Nairobi, Kenya. The introductions will be made by either Nest or your mentor(s) who will have developed the in-depth knowledge of your business needed to find relevant investors. 


Receive valuable feedback from these industry and financial experts on the viability of your business, specifically tailored to the market in which you are looking to expand and continue these conversations of collaboration and investment offline with the support of Nest.


Activities will include:


  • Investor and corporate meetings: 16th March – 18st March  [Nairobi, Kenya]


  • Investor speed dating: 16th March – 18st March  [Nairobi, Kenya]


  • Webinars


The investor meetings in Nairobi, Kenya will be in addition to those taking place in Bangkok, Thailand over the two-week bootcamp. 

Phase four: Reviewing progress and preparing for the next phase of growth. 

Nest will conduct individual reviews to help each startup optimise the learnings and networks introduced and maximise potential for conversion to new business and investment. We will also plan for the next stage of growth and provide continued support through our Mettā alumni network. Founders will work with Nest and mentor teams remotely for this phase. 

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Applications open

6th January

Application close date


Selection of the participating startups in January

10th - 21st February

Bootcamp in Bangkok, Thailand.

16th - 18th March

Investor speed dating in Nairobi, Kenya.


Programme conclusion

What you’ll take away from the programme:


  • Be equipped with hands-on knowledge and skills needed to win customers, and further expand your business.

  • Measure and evaluate the social impact of your business and demonstrate this impact to relevant investors.

  • Identify best practises and apply them to build/improve upon existing commercial and investor decks.

  • Be introduced to one or more relevant mentors who can help to (re)position your business or tackle any other challenges you might be facing.

  • Improve business materials, including commercial and investor decks, and enhance presentation and pitching skills.

  • Meet with potential corporate customers, partners and/or investors to build your network and explore business opportunities.

  • Collate feedback from meetings and learn how to continuously incorporate and improve pitch delivery and materials.

  • Receive support and engage with assigned mentors both during and post programme.

The Royal Academy of Engineering, with over 40 years experience in delivering programmes that help exceptional engineering researchers and innovators realise their potential have partnered with innovation experts Nest. Who, with experience in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, are your trusted partner in supporting global business expansion.


About Nest


Nest connects corporates, supra-nationals and governments to the world of startups, tech and innovation. From VC to accelerators and advisory, we commercialise and scale disruptive businesses across Asia, the Middle East and Africa.


Mettā, owned by Nest, is famously known in Kenya and Hong Kong for its highly curated content in all sectors & industries. Mettā has been able to grow a 4000+ global community as well as a vast digital community through their unique platform dubbed “Mettā Connect” which is connecting more than 4000 individuals passionate about entrepreneurship and innovation. Mettā has seen the growth of open innovation in Africa by working with corporates such as Visa, MTN, Barclays, Merck in realising the intersection of industries through collaboration with startups.




About the Royal Academy of Engineering


As the UK’s national academy for engineering and technology, we bring together the most successful and talented engineers from academia and business – our Fellows – to advance and promote excellence in engineering for the benefit of society.


We harness their experience and expertise to provide independent advice to government, to deliver programmes that help exceptional engineering researchers and innovators realise their potential, to engage the public with engineering and to provide leadership for the profession.  


We have three strategic priorities: 

  • Make the UK the leading nation for engineering innovation and businesses

  • Address the engineering skills and diversity challenge

  • Position engineering at the heart of society 


We bring together engineers, policy makers, entrepreneurs, business leaders, academics, educators and the public in pursuit of these goals. 


Engineering is a global profession, so we work with partners across the world to advance engineering’s contribution to society on an international, as well as a national scale. 


About the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation


The Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, founded by the Royal Academy of Engineering, is Africa’s biggest prize dedicated to engineering innovation. It awards crucial commercialisation support to ambitious African innovators developing scalable engineering solutions to local challenges, demonstrating the importance of engineering as an enabler of improved quality of life and economic development.

An eight-month period of tailored training and mentoring culminates in a showcase event where a winner is selected to receive £25,000 along with three runners-up, who are each awarded £10,000.

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