Microsoft, through its 4Afrika Initiative, has collaborated with the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) to provide entrepreneurs in the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme with technology-based tools, resources and mentorship. Through this support – which will benefit TEF entrepreneurs across the continent – the two organisations will help entrepreneurs effectively use ICT to modernise their businesses, enrich their offerings 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 Nigeria. “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.”
Microsoft 4Afrika will provide TEF entrepreneurs with:
· Access to cloud-based software, online support and technology through BizSpark
· Access to information and markets through the Biz4Afrika platform, where SMEs can trade with similar-sized organisations
· Technical training on Microsoft technologies and platforms during the 2017 TEF Forum
· Online business and technology training through the Microsoft Virtual Academy, to support entrepreneurs through their start-up, growth and acceleration phases
· Access to Microsoft experts for virtual and in-person mentorship through theMySkills4Afrika programme
· Access to the Interns4Afrika programme
“Every year, the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme provides 1,000 entrepreneurs with business training, mentoring, access to seed capital funding and membership into the TEF Africa-wide Network,” says Parminder Vir OBE, CEO, Tony Elumelu Foundation. Through this partnership, we are supporting each other’s mission to enable Africa’s entrepreneurs to drive their businesses forward.”
In addition, Microsoft will also identify high potential entrepreneurs from the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme and integrate them into its Innovation Grant Programme.
During the MOU singing at Microsoft headquarters, one TEF Entrepreneur already benefitting from the partnership, Adeniyi Olayemi said: the training I received through the Foundation helped me to refine my business idea and then produce a successful proposal, then once we received access to Microsoft’s Azure software, I was able to close on a deal.”
Since 2013, the Innovation Grant Programme has provided financial support to over 55 local start-ups, who have since generated $5.1 million in reciprocal investments.