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Microsoft supports start-ups in Africa with social impact business models

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Microsoft has launched its Global Social Entrepreneurship Programme to support start-ups and SMEs who have social impact business models.

Speaking at the recently concluded Sanklap Africa Summit 2020, Amrote Abdella, director for Microsoft4Afrika said that the software firm wants to encourage businesses to go into the sector.

“Solving global social and environmental challenges requires synergy of the right technology, partners, (a) conducive environment and technology. When start-ups work together with investors, enterprises, governments, non-profits and communities, we are able to unlock new potentials,” Abdella added.

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However, there are prerequisites to access this support, including that prospective candidates need to be in existence for less than seven years, must generate a turnover of less than US$25-million, and be focused on, climate, health, education and humanitarian action.

The companies selected will receive access to free Microsoft cloud technologies, including up to US$120,000 in Azure credits, along with technical support and guidance.

“Qualified start-ups will be eligible for grants in the areas of sustainability, accessibility, skills and employability,” Microsoft said.

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“The first criteria of engagement would be what solutions they are focused on and how they are planning to scale that and what will be the impact of that solution in the greater community,” said Abdella.

The companies also need to demonstrate best practices apart from sustainability of their solutions.

Some of the companies that have been supported in this sector include: Upepo, a smart electricity metre based on IOT technology, and Shujaaz Inc., a youth focused health information platform that covers 40% of this demographic in Kenya.

According to the tech giant, winning enterprises will be assisted to market and sell their solutions to established players such as commercial organizations and non-governmental organizations.

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