Microsoft has launched a series of initiatives to boost 10,000 African startups and enhance its investment prospects in the continent’s startup ecosystem over the next five years. The company recently launched the global Founders Hub which will now be available to African startups through the new Africa Transformation Office.
The Founders Hub is a self-service portal that connects start-ups to mentors, skilling courses, Microsoft Azure and GitHub, as well as go-to-market and business help.
Microsoft is also forming new partnerships various accelerators and incubators such as Grindstone, Greenhouse, FlapMax, and Seedstars, in Africa, with an aim of providing access to markets, technical skills, and funding opportunities for industry-based start-ups.
The partnerships will benefit African startups that need skilling programs and access to markets. The startups will also get an opportunity to co-sell with Microsoft, access their technology and gain support from the tech giant’s engineering and product teams for co-innovation opportunities.
Microsoft is also partnering with venture capital investors to avail $500 million in potential funding for the startups. This financing will come from a group of venture capitalists who will commit a fraction of their funds into start-ups in the Microsoft ecosystem.
The company has already established partnerships with a number of venture capital investors such as Banque Misr, Global Venture Capital and Get Funded Africa.
“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,” Microsoft Africa Transformation Office Managing Director, Wael Elkabbany said.
“However the current African startup market represents less than one percent of total investments worldwide. This needs to change.” Elkabbany points out.
He said Microsoft has developed a strategy with a focus on three key areas to scale its impact on the continent.