The role of SMEs and Startups in the growth and development of Africa cannot be overemphasized. In the past few years, organizations in the private and public sphere have discussed ways to create an enabling environment for the sustainability of SMEs and Startups in Africa.
One of the ways to ensure this is through the forming of partnerships by the SMEs and Startups. Financial institutions and government entities need to collaborate, in order to provide resources for SMEs and Startups with innovative ideas that can scale.
Sometime last year, collaboration among MTN, First Bank of Nigeria and Vodacom Business saw a breakthrough in partnership. The collaboration saw customers of SMEs gain direct access to financial services, data bundles, cloud services, and business network.
Following this, Microsoft is set to cater for entrepreneurs, but with millions of SMEs in Nigeria alone, it would be a daunting task for a single entity to take up the responsibility of nurturing them all, hence, the need for partnership.
A partnership is vital in the success of SMEs and Startups. Finances, skill sets, and technology are provided for them to access. What has Microsoft partnership produced so far?
Access to finance
For Startup competitions like MEST Africa and Seedstars, Microsoft has been a major partner and sponsor of the events. Microsoft has also assisted in the integration of new technologies in fostering Startup development.
Access to technology
Digital innovation remains the point of success for Startups and SMEs. This alone will allow them to remain competitive. Microsoft partnered with Liquid Telecom to deliver cloud service to African businesses.
Access to skill
Digital talent is in high demand, but in very short supply. Microsoft partners with MoVas in Kenya by providing them with certified interns. This, in return, affords the young interns real-world experience.
Access to market
In Nigeria, Microsoft partnered with Diamond Bank, when the financial institution was promoting financial literacy among the youths. Microsoft connected them with Gamsole that developed DreamVille, a game that encourages youths in planning their financial future.
Through partnerships, African SMEs and Startups will have more sustainable projects to carry out, thus, enhancing their growth on the African continent.