Microsoft Corporation, the renowned American technological company, has reportedly unveiled a set of new initiatives designed to expedite the expansion of over 10,000 startups based in Africa and accelerate investment in Africa's startup ecosystem within the coming five years.
According to reports, the news program is a part of its newly formed Africa Transformation Office (ATO).
The ATO would also enable the startups to have access to Microsoft's newly established worldwide Founders Hub. The Founders Hub by Microsoft is a self-service center that connects firms to an array of resources, including skilling courses, mentors, tools such as Microsoft Azure as well as GitHub, along with go-to- business and market support.
The tech giant is also forming new collaborations with incubators and accelerators spanning across the continent, particularly Greenhouse, Grindstone, Seedstars, and FlapMax to provide access to the market, technical expertise, as well as investment options for industry-based entrepreneurs.
The tech giant is also forming industry partnerships and alliances with venture capitalists to help African entrepreneurs scale quickly utilizing investment funds. These alliances and collaborations will provide African firms access to $500 million in prospective backing. This money will flow from a venture capitalists’ network that will contribute a percentage of their funds to Microsoft-affiliated firms.
Microsoft already has partnered up with numerous key venture capitalists, such as Global Ventures Capital, Banque Misr, and Get Funded Africa, with the goal of expanding this venture capital firm's network over the coming five years to help them grow exponentially and stimulate economic growth.
Wael Elkabbany, Microsoft Africa Transformation Office, Managing Director, stated that investments in Africa's startup network are increasing at a rapid rate. There are over 640 active tech centers around Africa, as per the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development), driving innovation as well as fostering job opportunities, mainly among the younger generation.
Microsoft will collaborate with B2B-focused startups, scaleups, ‘soonicorns’ (companies with the ability to turn into unicorns), including unicorns in a variety of prominent African sectors, as well as those focused on SMEs.
Elkabbany stated that there is huge potential for Africa for becoming a vibrant hub of digital innovation on the worldwide startup ecosystem. Microsoft aims to witness a surge of indigenous innovation that will benefit not only Africa's digital economy but also the rest of the world.