Microsoft today announced plans to support 10,000 startups in Africa over the next five years through a series of initiatives, including partnerships with accelerators and incubators across the continent.
He also announced plans to partner with venture capitalists to increase access to finance for startups in Africa by unlocking $500 million in “potential” investments. Microsoft said it was already working with Banque Misr, Global Venture Capital and Get Funded Capital.
These initiatives will be carried out through the recently established Africa Transformation Office (ATO). The ATO drives Microsoft’s strategic initiatives in Africa by partnering with public and private organizations.
“Our goal in establishing these partnerships with venture capitalists is to expand the network of potential partnerships between Microsoft, venture capitalists and startups, thereby increasing the funding available to eligible startups,” said said Gerald Maithya, Head of Startups, Microsoft Africa Transformation Office. .
Microsoft said it partners with accelerators and incubators like Grindstone, Greenhouse, FlapMax and Seedstars to provide marketplaces, technical skills and investment opportunities.
Microsoft’s Global Founders Hub, a self-service hub offering startups a variety of resources and access to mentors, will also be available to African startups. The Founders Hub also includes co-selling opportunities to businesses and Microsoft enterprise customers.
“There is enormous potential for Africa to become a thriving digital innovation hub in the global start-up landscape. Our ambition is to see an explosion of local inventions that will positively contribute, not only to the African digital economy, but to global society,” said Wael Elkabbany, Managing Director of Microsoft Africa Transformation Office.
Microsoft joins the growing list of tech companies like Google, which are offering initiatives targeting startups in Africa. Last year, Google launched a $50 million Africa Investment Fund targeting early-stage and growth-stage startups on the continent, succeeding its Google for Startups Accelerator Africa program.