As part of Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative , Microsoft has announced a strategic cooperation with iHub and the m:lab to enable startups, innovators and the developer community of East Africa to grow their skills and build businesses with Microsoft technologies. The cooperation aims to offer these communities increased access to software, skills development opportunities.
Microsoft will cooperate with the iHub and m:lab network on multiple projects spanning these countries, including the following:
- Supporting the startup community with Microsoft BizSpark memberships, trainings, participation in events, and access to business networking and capital investment opportunities. BizSpark is a global program that helps startups grow into successful businesses through software support and a vibrant ecosystem that delivers exceptional business advantage. BizSpark has supported 625 African startups since the program was first introduced in 2009.
- Enabling developers to access the latest events and workshops on Microsoft’s newest development technologies through iHub and m:lab community events, including trainings with the iHub UX lab.
- Establishing a physical presence in iHub and m:lab facilities at which Microsoft devices, including Windows Phones and Windows-based tablets, will be available for testing applications and other software developed by the local IT communities.
- Establishing a connection between the iHub Research team and Microsoft Research to enable access to research tools and collaboration on mutually beneficial projects.
- Enabling collaboration between the iHub Consulting team and Microsoft Consulting Services on joint customer projects.
The Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative is designed to help Africa improve its global competitiveness. By 2016, various efforts under the 4Afrika banner spanning the continent, such as this new collaboration with iHub and m:lab, will help place tens of millions of smart devices in the hands of African youth, bring 1 million African small and medium-size enterprises online, upskill 100,000 members of Africa’s existing workforce, and help an additional 100,000 recent graduates develop skills for employability, 75 percent of which Microsoft will help place in jobs.