Microsoft announced innovation grants to five African start-ups including access.mobile of Uganda, Africa 118 of Kenya, Gamsole of Nigeria, Kytabu of Kenya and Save & Buy of Nigeria.
The funding is aimed at offering the financial support needed to cross borders and empower the next generation of developers and entrepreneurs in Africa.
The grant is part of Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative, which was launched in February 2013, to facilitate its engagement in Africa’s economic development to improve its global competitiveness.
Microsoft selected five start-ups based on the uniqueness and scalability of their solutions, their business models and the relevance of the key problems they are addressing. The solutions and apps developed by the start-ups are relevant to consumers and the African market, ranging from agriculture, education and consumer (gaming).
Microsoft to fund the following start-ups in Africa
access.mobile LLC (Uganda)
A solution with a key focus in the agriculture and healthcare industries, giving enterprises the ability to collect, analyze and share clear, real-time information about their operations and supply chain activity.
Africa 118 (Kenya) is a mobile directory services solution that helps bridge the information gap both for enterprises and consumers.
Gamsole (Nigeria) is a mobile game production company creating Windows games, with downloads topping more than 4 million.
Kytabu (Kenya) is a textbook leasing application for low-cost tablets. Students can save more than 60 percent of their education cost by renting their textbooks on an hourly, weekly, monthly, school term or annual plan.
Save & Buy (Nigeria) is a Web and mobile platform that enable Nigerians to save toward the purchase of items conveniently and securely through e-commerce channels.
In addition to grants, Microsoft will provide technical support and mentorship to help these start-ups develop their businesses through the company’s Center of Expertise.
The Microsoft 4Afrika will help place tens of millions of smart devices in the hands of African youth, bring 1 million African small and medium-sized enterprises online, upskill 100,000 members of Africa’s workforce, and help an additional 100,000 recent graduates develop skills for employability, 75 percent of whom Microsoft will help place in jobs.