Eighty two Nigerian start-ups have grown their ventures with the help of 4Afrika, a Microsoft initiative, in the past five years.
Speaking at a media chat with some of the Nigerian beneficiaries of the 4Africa initiative at Microsoft office in Lagos, Microsoft 4Afrika’s Innovation Lead, Djiba Diallo, said the programme’s focal point is to accelerate Africa’s economic development and improve its global competitiveness.
According to him, 4Afrika which was launched in February 2013, with intent to move Africa’s digital transformation forward, has empowered people across the continent, while giving them the tools to turn great.
Diallo affirmed that they are engaged to understand the challenges that the start-ups encounter and support them to bridge some of these gaps.
He stated: “Microsoft’s 4Afrika programme provides grants, up-skilling workers, educating people, mentoring and training start-ups and NGOs, and working with African businesses on the ground to support them.”
According to him, through deliberate skills transfer and access to cloud services, startups can innovate and compete on a global scale. He affirmed that a thriving start-up culture can have a tangible, immediate economic impact also, particularly those in the technology, mobile, and digital transformation fields.
“We have seen first-hand the transformative power of technical skills transfer, mentorship, funding, innovation, and access. For the past five years, Microsoft’s 4Afrika programme has invested time and money into the digital transformation of Africa –providing grants, up-skilling workers, educating people, mentoring and training startups and NGOs, and working with African businesses on the ground to support them in their endeavours.
“Our close relationship with start-ups has influenced how we have engaged with them – they have learnt from us, and we have learnt from them, fine tuning the guidance and support that we have offered and continue to offer over time. We understand startups; and their successes have underlined our belief in the need to focus energies here. This is a beneficial relationship for all, and one that also unlocks several significant benefits on a micro and macro level,” he said.