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The seeds Microsoft planted with the Africa Transformation Office announcement in 2021 are beginning to sprout. That commitment to growth in Africa is further cemented as the global technology company brings its global Founders Hub to the continent.
Founders Hub connects start-ups to a network of resources including mentors, skills development content and tools like Microsoft Azure and GitHub
Microsoft 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 Africa 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.
Founders stand to benefit directly from Microsoft’s existing partnerships and alliances with VCs that facilitate access to $500 million in potential funding. The VCs have pledged to dedicate a portion of their financial support to start-ups in the Microsoft network.
Microsoft will partner with B2B-focused startups, scaleups, “soonicorns” and unicorns across a range of African industries
“Investments into Africa’s startup ecosystem are growing at an exciting pace. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), there are more than 640 active tech hubs across Africa, accelerating innovation and creating employment, particularly among the youth,” says Wael Elkabbany, Managing Director, Microsoft Africa Transformation Office.
“However,” Elkabbany points out, “currently the African startup market represents less than one percent of total investments worldwide. This needs to change.”
The primary goal of these partnerships will be to provide support in one or more of the following areas:
- Access to technology: Spanning from the provision of cloud credits and developer and productivity tools like GitHub to access to Microsoft’s traditional partner ecosystem, technical support and enablement. This also includes contact with Microsoft’s engineering and product teams for the purpose of co-innovation.
- Access to markets: Including the opportunity to co-sell with Microsoft from the SME Marketplace and the ability to partner with Microsoft on expansion activities, together with access to relevant enterprise and government partners. Microsoft will empower startups to scale to new levels through geographical expansion into new countries and co-selling opportunities.
- Access to funds: Microsoft’s partnerships with venture capital investors will provide qualified startups with access to funding.
- Access to skilling enablement: Microsoft will provide a seamless, self-contained package of high-quality skilling content. From a single interface, startups will be able to access multiple technical, self-paced training, workshops, instructor-led sessions and virtual training.
“The Founders Hub allows Microsoft to engage with accelerators, incubators and tech hubs across the continent. Our partnerships with key African accelerators provide crucial support to accelerate growth-stage start-ups with their business development and market expansion plans,” says Gerald Maithya, Startups Lead, Microsoft Africa Transformation Office.
“We understand that each startup is unique and exists beyond the limitations of a one-size-fits-all partnership model. This is why Microsoft will tailor each partnership to the needs of individual start-ups, providing support and access – whether to technology, markets and co-sell opportunities, funding or digital skills – to enable them to grow and contribute to the wider economic growth of Africa.”
Featured image supplied by Microsoft