No less than 10,000 start-ups across the African continent would benefit from a series of initiatives put together by Microsoft aimed at fast-tracking investment in Africa’s start-up ecosystem over the next five years.
According to the Managing Director, Microsoft Africa Transformation Office, Wael Elkabbany: “Investments into Africa’s startup ecosystem are growing at an exciting pace. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), there are more than 640 active tech hubs across Africa, accelerating innovation and creating employment, particularly among the youth. currently, the African startup market represents less than one per cent of total investments worldwide. This needs to change.”
Elkabbany, also informed that Microsoft is also creating new partnerships with accelerators and incubators across Africa, including Grindstone, Greenhouse, FlapMax and Seedstars to provide industry-based startups with access to markets, technical skills and funding opportunities.
These partnerships according to Elkabbany, will provide Africa startups with access to skilling programmes, access to markets, including opportunities to co-sell with Microsoft, and access to technology, with support from Microsoft’s an engineering and product teams for co-innovation opportunities.
Elkabbany concluded: “There is huge potential for Africa to become a thriving hub of digital innovation on the global startup landscape. Our ambition is to see an explosion of the local invention that will contribute positively, not just to Africa’s digital economy, but to global society.”
Startups Lead, Microsoft Africa Transformation Office, Gerald Maithya, while speaking on Microsoft’s Founders Hub, noted that: “The Founders Hub allows Microsoft to engage with accelerators, incubators and tech hubs across the continent. Our partnerships with key African accelerators provide crucial support to accelerate growth-stage startups with their business development and market expansion plans.”
Dwelling on Microsoft’s partnership with start-ups, Maithya stated: “We understand that each startup is unique and exists beyond the limitations of a one-size-fits-all partnership model. This is why Microsoft will tailor each partnership to the needs of individual startups, providing support and access – whether to technology, markets and co-sell opportunities, funding or digital skills – to enable them to grow and contribute to the wider economic growth of Africa.
“Our goal in establishing these partnerships with venture capital investors is to extend the network of potential partnerships between Microsoft, venture capital investors and startups, thereby increasing the funding made available to eligible startups.”