Microsoft African startups

Microsoft has announced new initiatives to accelerate the growth of 10,000 African startups and fast-track investment in Africa’s startup ecosystem over the next five years.

It is understood that the new initiatives – including partnerships with accelerators and incubators and technical skills and funding – will be coordinated through Microsoft’s Africa Transformation Office (ATO).

The company’s recently launched global Founders Hub, it was gathered, will also be available to African startups through ATO to provide startups with a wide range of resources and self-service.

‘To enable startups to rapidly scale using investment funding, Microsoft is establishing industry alliances and partnerships with venture capital investors that will facilitate access to $500 million in potential funding for African startups’, Microsoft said in a statement.

‘This funding will come from a network of venture capital investors, who will dedicate a portion of their financial support to startups in the Microsoft network.

‘Microsoft believes the vibrant African startup market is well placed to become a cornerstone of the continent’s digital economy, supporting local innovation through relevant solutions to societal challenges’.

Data from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) suggests that Africa’s digital economy could contribute nearly $180 billion to the region’s growth by 2025.

Also, a 2022 report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) and Deloitte shows that the continent’s research and development investment is only a quarter of the global average with Africa trailing behind the world in developing a knowledge-based, digital economy.

The report also noted that Africa, which is the world’s least connected continent, has only 39 percent of its entire population using the internet.

‘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’, the Managing Director of Microsoft ATO, Wael Elkabbany, said.

‘However, currently the African startup market represents less than one percent of total investments worldwide. This needs to change.

‘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 local invention that will contribute positively, not just to Africa’s digital economy, but to global society’.

Microsoft ATO startups lead, Gerald Maithya, said the Founders Hub will provide crucial support to accelerate growth-stage startups with their business development and market expansion plans.

‘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’, Maithya said.

Source: Microsoft

Photo source: Microsoft


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