Microsoft earlier this week announced that 7 (seven) new African startups will receive funding, technical support and mentorship to fast-track their growth and provide a road-map to highlight Africa’s ‘future growth pole’.
This announcement was made at the Microsoft 4Afrika Advisory Council meeting in Nairobi and is the 2nd round of grants to be issued under the 4Afrika innovation grant programme, following the 5 startups selected at the beginning of 2014.
Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative seeks to accelerate African led-innovation and tries to ensure that entrepreneurs continue to grow their businesses and solutions.
In turn, these businesses create jobs and encourage skills development thus growing the continent’s knowledge economy.
“The world is looking for the next growth pole and Africa is positioned to be exactly that. As investors assess industries and sectors to fund, there is a keen interest in exploring the future multinational companies that will come out of Africa. These are the startups and SMEs of today, which we aim to help grow to their full potential through smart financing,” says Fernando de Sousa, General Manager of Africa Initiatives at Microsoft.
The startups are:
Ukall from 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 targeting 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 from 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.ma from Morocco – iTaxi.ma 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 from Rwanda – AfNovis a software development company. Their mobile application ‘Ikayey’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 from 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 from Uganda – MMINDZS develops and exploits technology and technology-driven processes for African SMEs and local businesses. One of their first solutions was a mobile money-ready accounting system for the SME.