Microsoft, through its 4Afrika Initiative, in partnership with the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) to provide entrepreneurs in the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme with technology-based tools, resources and mentorship.
Through this support, 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,” said 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 percent faster revenue growth than those not using it,” he added.
As part of the programme, 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.
The programme will also offer technical training on Microsoft technologies and platforms during the 2017 TEF Forum; and online business and technology training through the Microsoft Virtual Academy, to support entrepreneurs through their start-up, growth and acceleration phases
Other benefits include access to Microsoft experts for virtual and in-person mentorship through the MySkills4Afrika programme, and access to the Interns4Afrika programme.
CEO of Tony Elumelu Foundation, Parminder Vir OBE, said the programme is a win-win situation for both companies.
“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. Through this partnership, we are supporting each other’s mission to enable Africa’s entrepreneurs to drive their businesses forward,” he said.
Furthermore, Microsoft will also identify high-potential entrepreneurs from the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme and integrate them into its Innovation Grant Programme.
A TEF Entrepreneur, Adeniyi Olayemi, who is a beneficiary of the programme recounted some benefits it has offered him saying: “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.