Microsoft has announced it will support in Africa over the next five years through a series of initiatives including partnerships with accelerators and incubators across the continent.
The company also announced it will partner with venture capital investors to increase funding access for startups in Africa by unlocking $500 million in “potential” investment. Microsoft said that it is already working with Banque Misr, Global Venture Capital and Get Funded Capital 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.
ATO startups lead Gerald Maithya said,“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.”
Microsoft says it is also creating new partnerships with accelerators and incubators across Africa, including Grindstone, Greenhouse, FlapMax and Seedstars to provide industry-based startups with access to markets, technical skills, and funding opportunities. These partnerships will provide African startups 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.
These initiatives will be carried out through the recently established Africa Transformation Office (ATO), which drives Microsoft’s strategic initiatives in Africa by partnering with public and private organizations.
Microsoft’s global Founders Hub, a self-service hub providing startups with a variety of resources and access to mentors, will also be available to African startups. The Founders Hub also includes opportunities to co-sell to Microsoft’s corporate and enterprise customers.
“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 inventions that will contribute positively not just to Africa’s digital economy, but to global society,” ATO managing director Wael Elkabbany said.