Microsoft is set to host African Startups AI Fest – the largest Microsoft Africa virtual event

Microsoft has announced the launch of the African Startups AI Fest, which will take place at GITEX Africa in Marrakech, Morocco. Organized by Microsoft’s Africa Transformation Office (ATO), the event aims to provide startups with the necessary tools and support to accelerate their journey to market using AI-powered technology. Scheduled for June 6, 2024, the festival will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, with virtual access available to participants from across the continent.

The African Startups AI Fest will bring together startup founders, entrepreneurs, decision-makers, engineers, and developers from various African countries. This inaugural event seeks to demonstrate the transformative potential of AI and how startups can leverage this groundbreaking technology to drive innovation and expand their ideas beyond local markets to a global audience.

Lillian Barnard, President of Microsoft Africa, emphasizes the importance of equipping startups with the resources they need to turn their concepts into successful businesses. From AI-enabled solutions to advanced digital skills, startups must be given every opportunity to thrive in the highly competitive global market. They are crucial for job creation and economic growth in Africa. Despite the economic challenges faced by startups, Microsoft remains committed to supporting their growth and success.

According to recent research from The African Tech Startups Funding Report, funding for tech startups in Africa has experienced a decline following a successful year in 2022, where over $3 billion was raised by 633 tech startups. Microsoft’s African Startups AI Fest aims to provide startups with the necessary expertise and insights to overcome these challenges and take their businesses to the next level.

Barnard emphasizes that despite the challenging economic conditions, startups in Africa have shown remarkable resilience and have sparked a wave of innovation. By utilizing the right technology tools, such as AI, startups can scale their solutions, increase productivity, and drive growth. Microsoft believes that technology, especially the transformative power of AI, is the key to empowering Africa’s future.

When it comes to finding the right tech partner, Microsoft has been supporting startups in Africa for years, helping them grow and develop. Some of the success stories include RE Legal Interact, M-KOPA, Omnisient, Zen Dawa, Deepecho, and Terragon.

For example, Legal Interact has integrated Microsoft AI into its software and recently launched the first AI lawyer in South Africa. This solution automates certain tasks, providing quick answers to legal questions and freeing up time for attorneys to focus on more complex queries.

M-KOPA, on the other hand, utilizes IoT tools and AI-powered automation in the cloud to provide inclusive financial services, such as insurance and loans, to people across East Africa. This fintech business has helped millions of families and entrepreneurs access the financial support they need to purchase solar systems, motorbikes, and smartphones.

At the African Startups AI Fest, attendees will have the opportunity to learn about these success stories and more. Microsoft, along with its partners and customers, will showcase how AI tools can be leveraged by entrepreneurs to gain a competitive edge in the market.

The primary objective of the organization is to target a range of 6,000 to 10,000 businesses and offer them tailored assistance through the Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub programs. Founders and entrepreneurs will be equipped for expansion through webinars specifically designed for their respective industries, coaching sessions to improve their pitching abilities and overcome common obstacles, community sessions connecting startups with prominent investors from the Continental investor community to gain valuable insights on securing initial investments, integration with the Microsoft Independent Software Vendor program, and guidance on leveraging AI technologies to drive their businesses towards success. To register for the African Startups AI Fest, participants can register HERE  by June 5th, 2024.

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