Sunday, September 25, 2022

New Microsoft Initiative to Support 10,000 African Start-Ups

International tech powerhouse Microsoft announced Wednesday new initiatives to speed up the development of 10,000 African startups and quick-track investment in Africa’s startup environment during the next five years.    

According to the tech giant’s announcement, the new initiatives will be responsible for its recently established Africa Transformation Office (ATO). As such, the Founders Hub also includes opportunities for startups to sell to Microsoft’s corporate and enterprise customers.     

While it also helps with some of the initial challenges startups face when finding customers, Microsoft will provide startups with geo-expansion activities to scale up by selling in new countries.    

“The Founders Hub allows Microsoft to engage with accelerators, incubators, and tech hubs across the continent, “says Gerald Maithya, Startups Lead, Microsoft Africa Transformation Office.      

In parallel, the tech giant is establishing new partnerships with incubators and accelerators across the continent, including Greenhouse, FlapMax, Grindstone, and Seedstars, providing industry-based startups with access to technical skills, markets, and funding opportunities.    

The above partnerships will give African startups access to markets and skilling programs, including prospects to co-sell with Microsoft, and access to technology, with support from Microsoft’s engineering and product teams for co-innovation options.    

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

In addition, this funding will come from a group of venture capital investors, who will devote a part of their financial support to startups in the Microsoft network.    

Some of the Founders Hub characteristics include opportunities for startups to sell to Microsoft’s enterprise and corporate customers.     

Microsoft will also support startups in geo-expansion activities, which can scale up by selling in new countries or regions.    

“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,” says Gerald Maithya, Startups Lead, Microsoft Africa Transformation Office.    

It is worth mentioning that Microsoft will partner with Business to Business (B2B) focused startups, scaleups, “unicorns, as in the businesses that can become unicorns.    

“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,” says Maithya.