Thousands of Africans gathered last weekend in Lagos for the 2019 edition of Techpoint Build, where startups and SMEs came to pitch ideas for the prize of $10,000.
Nigerian real estate startup, Estate Intel, won the competition. One of the major partners of the event and series A sponsors of the startups was Microsoft.
One of the things Microsoft is doing is to support SMEs and startups around the continent through a market development engine, Microsoft 4Afrika.
“Microsoft realises that we need to make investments into the African ecosystem to be able to drive businesses to a point where they can begin to leverage the right technology to grow,”
The initiative looks for 3 qualities in SMEs and startups: scalability, sustainability, and use of cloud technology.
Soromfe Uzoma, Microsoft 4Afrika’s Head of Strategic Partnerships, tells me during an interview at the event said “We believe that SMEs are the engine of the economy and that they can drive value.
In Nigeria alone, there are between 18 and 37 million of them, depending on the number you’re listening to. So we have to find a way to give them the support they need to grow their businesses,” he adds.