— Committed to helping Africa improve its global competitiveness, the software giant, Microsoft Corporation has said that five African startup businesses from Nigeria, Uganda and Kenya will get innovation grants designed to provide the financial support needed to cross borders and empower the next generation of developers and entrepreneurs in Africa.
Microsoft 4Africa initiative is expected place tens of millions of smart devices in the hands of African youth, bring 1 million African small and medium-sized enterprises online, upskill 100,000 members of Africa’s workforce, and help an additional 100,000 recent graduates develop skills for employability, 75 percent of whom Microsoft will help place in jobs.
Through the 4Afrika Initiative, Microsoft is now extending its support to include grants to startups, selecting five startups as the first set of recipients.
The startups, Microsoft said were selected based on the uniqueness and scalability of their solutions, their business models and the relevance of the key problems they are addressing. The solutions and apps developed by the startups are relevant to consumers and the African market, ranging from agriculture, education and consumer (gaming).
The startups which include two other African countries and they are:
• Gamsole (Nigeria): A mobile game production company creating Windows games, with downloads topping more than 4 million.
• Save & Buy (Nigeria): A Web and mobile platform that enables Nigerians to save toward the purchase of items conveniently and securely through e-commerce channels.
• access.mobile LLC (Uganda) : A solution with a key focus in the agriculture and healthcare industries, giving enterprises the ability to collect, analyze and share clear, real-time information about their operations and supply chain activity.
• Africa 118 (Kenya): A mobile directory services solution that helps bridge the information gap both for enterprises and consumers.
• Kytabu (Kenya) :A textbook leasing application for low-cost tablets. Students can save more than 60 percent of their education cost by renting their textbooks on an hourly, weekly, monthly, school term or annual plan.
In addition to grants, Microsoft will provide technical support and mentorship to help these startups develop their businesses through the company’s Center of Expertise.
Posted by Aloy Ejimakor