Microsoft SA launches Head Start programme to help startups grow

SA tech startups are set to benefit from tech, business development and legal support following Microsoft SA‘s announcement today (12 November) of the launch of its Head Start programme.

Through the support programme, Microsoft aims to help startups grow by providing them with access to wide ranging skills development, development resources, access to coaches and mentors as well as its customer network.

In addition, the programme will also provide participants with access to Microsoft’s customer network and its Azure cloud computing platform.

Microsoft already runs the programme in two other countries, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan.

Microsoft’s Head Start programme will provide SA startups with training and support in tech, business development and legal

Commenting in a statement today (12 November) Microsoft SA commercial partners lead Lionel Moyal said his company understands how critical entrepreneurship is and wants to give as much support to tech startups “as we can” in a bid to make the country more globally competitive and to create jobs.

In the same statement, the company said in order to succeed, tech startups need “three specific doors to open”. These, it said, are technology, business development and compliance, regulation and legal. The Head Start programme will provide mentorship across all three, with particular emphasis on the following:

  • Technology: App development, data and artificial intelligence (AI), development and operations, cloud platform, security, business apps and modern workplace
  • Business: Marketing, human resources, finance and business development
  • Legal: Compliance with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), security, compliance and legal

“A key differentiator of the Head Start programme is the direct access to coaches and mentors that candidates have to guide them through these three key areas, with over 50 Microsoft SA staff volunteering to mentor.

“Candidates just need to schedule an hour meeting with various business experts from multiple fields across the business, and they’ll get one-to-one expert advice straight from those in the know,” explained Moyal.

Moyal added that Microsoft wants to nurture and involve the programme’s participants into “fully-fledged” Microsoft partners.

“The ecosystem itself is far bigger than Microsoft, but by backing the bold entrepreneurial spirit of the brave tech startup, we can bring real change to the future of the country and the continent. There’s no better investment,” he said.

The launch of Microsoft Head Start coincides with Global Entrepreneurship Week — which runs from today until Sunday (12 to 18 November). The event is an initiative of the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) and aims to promote entrepreneurship globally.

On Wednesday (14 November), Microsoft will hold a tech day at 22 On Sloane, GEN’s Johannesburg campus, where more information on Microsoft’s Head Start programme will be shared.



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