Seven new African startups will receive funding, technical support and mentorship to fast-track their growth and provide a roadmap to highlight Africa’s future growth pole under the Microsoft 4Afrika grant programme.
The initiative by the giant tech company aims at accelerating African innovation, ensuring that entrepreneurs continue to grow their businesses and solutions. In turn, they will create jobs, encourage skills development and grow the continent’s knowledge economy.
Being the second round of grants to be issued under 4Afrika programme, following the five startups selected at the beginning of 2014, winners will receive financial endowment and access to Microsoft platforms which include one on one mentorship sessions owing to the fact that all startups have different needs, speeds at which they scale and unique market challenges that require tailored, individualised support.
In addition, to ensure the scalability of these startups, Microsoft will also connect grant winners with relevant partners to enable them commercialize their solutions.
The following startup have been selected on this second round;
Ukall (Kenya) – Ukall is an ICT company that automates business processes, allowing companies and businesses to run more efficiently. Their mobile application ‘Akida’ addresses the challenges of staff attendance verification.
Cojengo (East Africa) – Based on the Swahili word ‘Kujenga’, Cojengo creates mobile and cloud solutions that address animal and human health issues. Their ‘VetAfrica’ app helps farmers diagnose livestock disease and share disease surveillance data.
MobiPay (Kenya) – MobiPay facilitates commerce and trade through mobile devices in the SME, agricultural and remittance sectors. Their AgriLife solution helps farmers access market opportunities, receive financing and get information on how best to grow, manage and market their produce.
iTaxi (Morocco) – iTaxi is a mobile application that lets users book, track and rate taxis within Morocco. The app uses geo-location technology, allowing users to send their location and transport details to available taxi drivers in the area and track their progress.
AfNov (Rwanda) – AfNov is a software development company. Their mobile application ‘Ikaye y’umudugudu’ allows users to report their community challenges and conflicts to government. In addition, users can track development and progress within government institutions, ensuring accountability and enhanced development.
BookNow (Kenya) – BookNow is a mobile system that allows Kenyan’s to buy bus tickets online, providing secure mobile money and card payment options and enabling customers to avoid long queues.
MMindzs (Uganda)– MMindzs offers mobile payment solutions for businesses and SMEs, allowing them to manage and keep track of their business transactions from anywhere.
The seven startups were selected based on their uniqueness and scalability among other factors. Microsoft4Afrika will support the startups that have developed their solutions beyond the idea stage at the same time addressing key sectors fueling growth across the continent.
Through Microsoft’s partnerships with accelerators and innovation hubs; 88mph and AfriLabs, local innovators have been able to access nurturing and market solutions giving them better stability and position in their various sectors.