Microsoft 4Afrika has signed a partnership with the Tony Elumelu Foundation to provide tools, resources and mentorship to entrepreneurs enrolled in the foundation’s entrepreneurship programme.
In a press release by Microsoft, the two organisations will help entrepreneurs to use ICT to further their businesses, enrich their services and reach new customers.
“Microsoft 4Afrika and the Tony Elumelu Foundation share a common goal to accelerate economic and social development by promoting entrepreneurship…”, says Akin Banuso, General Manager, Microsoft Africa. Echoing sentiment shared by experts and people the world over, he continued saying, “As we enter into an era of digital transformation, it’s vital that we help all entrepreneurs develop relevant technology skills and integrate ICT into their businesses. Technology can help SMEs reach customers outside their local markets, generate powerful business insights and improve their customer retention. We have found that SMEs who adopt this kind of modern IT have seen 15% faster revenue growth than those not using it.“
In what has become an annual event since its inception in 2015, the Tony Elumelu Foundation provides 1000 entrepreneurs with training, mentorship, access to seed capital and membership into the TEF Africa-wide Network through its entrepreneurship programme.
With a partner like Microsoft now on board, the entrepreneurs will now have access to an essential ICT dimension, strengthening their capacity and ensuring that they remain relevant and competitive.
During the The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Forum in Lagos in October, Microsoft will be training the entrepreneurs in the usage of its platform and services.
In addition, Microsoft will also identify high potential entrepreneurs from the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme and integrate them into its Innovation Grant Programme, a programme which since 2013, has provided financial support to over 55 local startups, who have since generated $5.1 million in reciprocal investments.
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9 Startups Accepted into the First Next Health Accelerator with $15K Seed Funding
Intrepid Entrepreneurs, a non-profit designed to catalyze the power and promise of young people and women to fundamentally advance their societies, recruited nine startups for the inaugural cohort of the Next Health Accelerator.
Female, African entrepreneurs with a minimum viable product (MVP) from 26 countries applied to the program. After a rigorous review process, nine startups from seven countries were selected to begin the program in March 2021. The investor readiness accelerator is six months long and includes $15,000 seed funding, international mentors and partners, business support services, and value chain access.
The Next Health Accelerator’s focus on sexual and reproductive health is founded on the premise that unmet needs for sexual education, menstrual hygiene management, family planning, medication abortion, and STI diagnosis and treatment will be most sustainably delivered by local African enterprises.
Sexual and Reproductive Health issues directly affect 300 million women and girls on the continent and the productivity of the entire continent. For the continent to prosper and support its burgeoning youth population, it must harness the demographic dividend with access to equitable healthcare and economic opportunities. Next Health Accelerator addresses both.
The 2021 cohort includes:
- Rocket Health: Provides telemedicine and pharmacy services for SRH needs including convenient lab test retrieval and medication delivery in Uganda
- Verifie: Delivers STI self-tests and treatment products via doorstep delivery in Ghana
- Pharmaserve: Specializes in delivering high-quality pharmaceuticals in Nigeria through a fully integrated inventory monitoring system
- Girls Pride: Provides menstrual hygiene management education and skills training to create reusable pads in The Gambia
- Pad-Up Creations: Employs over 100 people in Nigeria to produce single-use, chemical-free pads sold in 16 countries
- Valorigo: Manufacturers single-use sanitary eco-friendly pads made from locally grown bamboo in the Congo
- The Grace Cup: Delivers SRH education and reusable menstrual cups in Kenya
- Kosmotive: Provides SRH information and access to SRH self-care products in Rwanda
- Massira: Delivers SRH information interactively as well as access to SRH services and products through an online community in Ghana
Lindsey Simmonds, the Co-founder of Intrepid Entrepreneurs in a press statement said,
She continued that, development policies made in Washington, D.C. or London need to make room for the power and promise of the youth and women on the African continent. And on this premises, their Next Health Accelerator catalyzes African startups to investor readiness to make scalable, sustainable impact imbued with the commitment and determination that only comes from homegrown ideas.
Visit the intrepidentrepreneurs.org to learn more about the Next Health Accelerator 2021.
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