7 African start-ups to receive Microsoft innovation grants

Mergers, Acquisitions and Financial Results

To fast-track their growth and provide a roadmap to highlight Africa’s ‘future growth pole’, Microsoft has revealed the 7 new African start-ups to receive funding, technical support and mentorship.

According to Microsoft, one of the goals of the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative is to accelerate 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.

The following start-ups have been selected:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. iTaxi.ma (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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. MMINDZS (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.

“The Microsoft 4Afrika initiative gives startups like BookNow access to smart capital, helping startup businesses to grow without needing to relinquish control of their company or seek expensive capital,” says Francis Gesora, co-founder of BookNow. “This helps us improve our competitive factor and achieve our scaling targets faster.”

Source: ITNews Africa 2 October 2014