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Through its 4Afrika initiative, Microsoft yesterday officially announced its Cloud Startup Academy in partnership with Mara Mentor and Fate Foundation in Lagos, Nigeria. The initiative will provide beneficiaries with training on how to become entrepreneurs using cloud technologies.
While introducing the project, Wemimo Adeniyi, director of small, mid-market solutions partners at Microsoft Nigeria, said the project seeks to identify and help develop startups in the country. She said it would also empower the youth who are creative and passionate about new technology.
Speaking on the structure of the initiative, Habiba Balogun, who’s the director of Fate Foundation, said a platform has been created by Mara Mentor which allows 1 000 qualified applicants to register over a period of four weeks. Registered applicants will be interviewed to get the best 100 candidates who will then be exposed to modules of marketing and skill development — they will be further trained to become cloud resellers.
At the end of the process, participants would have developed their sales, technology, entrepreneurship, marketing, communication and startup management capacities. The top 20 participants will also receive mentorship and seed capital to become cloud-based business owners.
Microsoft reps revealed that a similar initiative had previously been successfully introduced in Morocco and is expected to do the same in Nigeria: empower the country’s youth, improve the local economy and educate citizens on cloud.
Adeniyi said the project is a crucial aspect of Microsoft’s 4Afrika initiative — a multi-year journey that aims to create 100 000 jobs in Africa. “With this initiative, Microsoft is keeping to the promise made through 4Afrika — to enable youth to become effective contributors to economic growth in Nigeria,” she said.
She announced the exercise will officially launch today (19 March) and applicants can begin to register from across the country, while the final 20 will be selected will pitch their startups on 5 June.
One unique aspect of this initiative, Olamide Amosun, head of marketing at Mara Mentor, told Ventureburn: “For us it’s more like we are trying to empower people. We are all trying to change lives, inspire people and that’s part of the objectives of Mara Mentor,” she said.
“The idea is to have these people on our programme because we are constantly enabling people through our platform. This means even if you don’t make the final cut, you can still get linked to somebody through our platform. Even if you don’t have a business, you can still learn from other people on our platform,” she said.