By Amrote Abdella, Director 4Afrika Venture Capital and Startup Programs
As leading Harvard Professor, Michael Porter, once said: “Innovation is the central issue to economic prosperity.” At Microsoft we couldn’t agree more, which is why one of our goals is to empower Africans to make the most of, and monetize their own business ideas. There is certainly no shortage of brilliant ideas on the continent, but no matter how bright they burn, they require time, investment, and the right tools to become a blazing, fully-fledged business.
This is why we are so excited to announce that Microsoft’s Ventures partnership program is expanding into Africa, starting in Kenya. Microsoft Ventures was created to give startups a leg-up by providing access to tools, technology and training. Kenya is quickly being recognised as an innovation hub, particularly in the mobility space. It’s been reported that there are 74 mobile phones for every 100 Kenyans and, of those who access the internet, 99% do it via a mobile device.
Expanded to Africa as part of our 4Afrika Initiative, Microsoft Ventures speaks to our belief that technology can accelerate growth for Africa, and Africa can also accelerate technology for the world. Around the world, Microsoft Ventures selects strategic accelerator partners in each region to provide local market expertise. For our venture into Kenya, we’ve selected 88mph for its proven track record in helping local entrepreneurs turn ideas into thriving businesses. Since opening up in July 2011 the company has already graduated 32 startups. That equals nearly one success story for every month they’ve been in operation!
One of my favourite stories and a prime example of what we hope to achieve with this partnership, is a company called Gamsole, started by Nigeria’s own Abiola Olaniram. Abiola had a vision of creating his own tech company, capitalising on the growing mobile space and people’s love of entertainment in Africa and all over the world. Funded by 88mph and Microsoft’s BizSpark program, he started developing Windows Games and is now the highest paid Windows game developer in Africa, with over 1.5 million downloads. This is just one example. You can read about dozens more on the Microsoft Ventures website.
We want to remove as many barriers as we can to enabling a startup to thrive. The program is simple: those who are interested can apply to an immersive 3-6 monthaccelerator program. The only requirements are a full-time founding team and less than $1 million raised. Qualifying companies will have access to mentors, technical and design experts, development tools and key resources.
Ultimately, we want to see a thriving African startup ecosystem contributing to Africa’s economic development and competitiveness on a global scale. We feel strongly that by partnering with 88mph we are helping to pave the way to a better, stronger future.
Hi, this is a very gud programme. How can i access the resources? Do you also fund those interested in first going to school?
HI, WHEN DO YOU PLAN TO COME TO RWANDA CECOUSE WE ALSO NEED THAT APPORTUNITY AND RESOURCES
Hi! this program is very interesting ,it's needed in Rwanda when do you start this program in Rwanda?OK ;we are ready to join your program
That's fantastic, Right now we have developed a system which can solve a certain mass problem but we requested for gvt assistance without any response. Something like this could boost our creativity and and put our innovation into work. When are you coming to tz?
This is such an important opportunity and wish to know how to scale it to Uganda as well being in East Africa Community together???
All the best from www.cotfone.org
4Afrika runs many programmes to help young entrepreneurs and the youth. If you’re interested in a career in IT, why not apply for one our 1000 University of the People scholarships http://bit.ly/1cIz40C. You can also visit the Microsoft YouthSpark http://bit.ly/VYo7Ln hub, www.youth4afrika.com and Microsoft BizSpark www.microsoft.com/bizspark, for tools, ideas, and other resources to help you shape your future.
The Microsoft Africa Team
We offer many programmes to help start-ups in addition to the Ventures Partner Programme. Why not apply to join our BizSpark Hub for a host of tools, information and resources to help grow your business. Our partnership with 88mph in Kenya is just the start and we are always looking for opportunities to partner with high quality accelerators across Africa. Wishing all of you every success in your ventures!
What an Idea! Kenyan people are replete with ideas but there are few mentors and records of sustainability. Send Us as a Company partners with donors, we start business systems and run it until the whole loan is refunded then we buy shares from that company and the bonavide youths too buy shares and the company remains for the locals. We are currently working on a wedding garden dubbed Sawayume in Migori County that engages the youths in practical skills of Event Planning and Management, Photography, Design work in production of social and corporate cards. Our current project is the production of Success Card which we supply to the supermarkets and our products have received serious market within and without Migori County. Visit our page on face book to see what we use computers to do -Send Us and Printing. -0710454161
when is the dead line for microsoft sponsorship,and the date the second term start,can i apply today and get the sponsorship
thank you sir
Great article and initiative, congrats Microsoft. We would love to help you do the same in west africa, through our accelerator and incubator CTIC Dakar. In 2 years we have supported 14 established companies and 30 startups. Feel free to get in touch @cticdakar or fb.com/cticdakar
so when do you plan a move on Zambia
quite intresting,i would love to be part of your venture.
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