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Microsoft, South Africa Partner To Create 600 Tech Startups

Microsoft, South Africa Partner To Create 600 Tech Startups

Microsoft, one of Africa’s largest investors, has partnered with the South African government’s Jobs Fund to help create up to 600 technology start-ups over the next three years, and in the process, grow jobs, according to VenturesAfrica.

Partnering with government and local incubators to provide additional benefits to start-ups will help to develop South Africa’s ICT industry and ultimately provide jobs, said Microsoft SA managing director Mteto Nyati.

“South Africa is essentially a nation of young people – and the high level of youth unemployment threatens the very stability of the country,” Nyati said at the announcement of the partnership in June.

Unemployment is a huge concern in South Africa and something the government has decided to put money into solving, said Dumisa Hlatshwayo, Jobs Fund chief investment officer.

The Jobs Fund is investing about $9.6 million. Microsoft has expanded its BizSpark program and will support the program through its own 4Afrika initiative.

To qualify for BizSpark, a startup must have been in business for five years, be developing software, be privately held and generate less than $500,000 a year in revenue.

“Ultimately we want to establish South Africa as an exporter rather than an importer of intellectual property” Nyati said. “My hope is that the companies won’t only be successful here, but across the globe.”

Microsoft is one of Africa largest investors, according to the report.

“Africa is the second biggest investment that Microsoft has made, after China,” Nyati said. “That shows how important they see the continent.”