Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative Awards Grants to 5 Startups

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Kytabu, Africa 118, Save & Buy, Gamsole and access.mobile LLC are the 5 startups chosen by the 4Afrika Initiative for its mentorship program as part of its drive towards improving Africa’s global competitveness. The startups have been recognized on the basis of their business models, implementation of unique and scalable solutions, and addressing relevant problems on the continent. Through the Microsoft Center of Expertise, these 5 startups will particlpate in a business mentorship program and receive technical support on Microsoft tools (data platform solutions, unified communications, enterprise project management).

“As part of the 4Afrika initiative, we are excited to be supporting startups that have developed innovative solutions that address key issues in Africa,” said Amrote Abdella, director of startup engagement and Partnerships for 4Afrika. “Our support is aimed to showcase the importance of local innovation, but, more important, it highlights the great potential that African innovators have in competing with world-class developers and entrepreneurs.”

Startups recognized for Microsoft’s grant:

  • 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) A mobile directory services solution that helps bridge the information gap both for enterprises and consumers.
  • Gamsole (Nigeria) A mobile game production company creating Windows games, with downloads topping more than 4 million.
  • Kytabu (Kenya) 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) A Web and mobile platform that enables Nigerians to save toward the purchase of items conveniently and securely through e-commerce channels.

Abiola Olaniran, CEO of Gamsole, said, “The Microsoft 4Afrika innovation grant provides a great support as it helps entrepreneurs to further bootstrap their companies without giving up equity or control. It allows us to not miss out on the kind of fast growth that only major cash infusion can provide.”

“A critical success factor in driving the economic success of entrepreneurs in Africa is access to capital together with a solid incubation foundation. Microsoft 4Afrika is partnering with local organizations in creating opportunities for ‘smart capital’ to be available to our young innovators,” said Fernando de Sousa, general manager for Microsoft 4Afrika. “Smart capital combines access to finance, technical skills development, business mentoring, sharing of global best practices and access to markets with the infrastructure provided by local partners to enable world-class companies to emerge from Africa.”

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