Microsoft has announced new initiatives to accelerate the growth of 10,000 African start-ups and fast-track investment in Africa’s start-up ecosystem over the next five years.
The development is based on the remit of its recently established Africa Transformation Office, ATO.
Just recently, the technology giant launched a global Founders Hub, which is now available to African startups via ATO.
Specifically, the Hub is a self-service platform that provides startups with a wide range of resources such as access to mentors, skilling content and access to Microsoft Azure, to mention a few.
Microsoft is also creating new partnerships with accelerators and incubators across Africa, including Grindstone, Greenhouse, FlapMax and Seedstars to provide industry-based start-ups with access to markets, technical skills, and funding opportunities. These partnerships will provide Africa start-ups with access to skilling programs, access to markets, including opportunities to co-sell with Microsoft, and access to technology, with support from Microsoft’s engineering and product teams for co-innovation opportunities.
To enable start-ups 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 start-ups.
This funding will come from a network of venture capital investors, who will dedicate a portion of their financial support to start-ups in the Microsoft network.
Microsoft has already established partnerships with several key venture capital investors, including Banque Misr, Global Venture Capital and Get Funded Africa, and the intention is to grow this network of venture capital investors in the next five years to increase funding and enable them to scale up and drive economic growth.
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,” says Wael Elkabbany, Managing Director, Microsoft Africa Transformation Office.
“However,” Elkabbany points out, “currently the African startup market represents less than one percent of total investments worldwide. This needs to change.”