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Global tech company Microsoft and pan-African entrepreneurship initiative Ampion have launched the latest “accelerator on wheels”. The Venture Bus will consist of 200 entrepreneurs and five buses traveling across 16 countries in Africa, building their businesses as they go from country to country.
The Venture Bus will support those onboard with the resources, networking opportunities, and mentorship needed for budding entrepreneurs.
Afterwards, Microsoft will offer a six to nine-month fellowship, followed by an extensive incubator programme. The programme will include mentorships by the MySkills4Afrika programme and technical and business support from Microsoft’s BizSpark, which will help them refine their business solutions to market.
Director of startup engagement and partnerships at Microsoft 4Afrika, Amrote Abdella, says Microsoft is keen on supporting an innovation ecosystem in Africa:
Entrepreneurs who tackle issues create the path for innovative solutions while building sustainable businesses on the continent. Through our collaboration with Ampion, we look forward to giving young talent the tools and resources needed to succeed — laying the foundation for the creation of globally competitive businesses.
The first Venture Bus has already completed its tour of West Africa, starting in Cote d’Ivoire and visiting countries such as Togo and Ghana. It ended at the DEMO Africa Startup event in Nigeria this week, which was sponsored by Microsoft. The best startups will be pitching their ideas during the seven-day journey.
“The seven-day Venture Bus programme is designed to be intense, competitive and challenging — an ideal environment for innovation to thrive,” says Fabian-Carlos Guhl, the founder and MD of Ampion Africa. “The Fellowship Programme is then designed to sharpen the entrepreneurs and business ideas with the highest potential.”