The Africa Apps team will be involved in enrolling students and faculty under the ‘DreamSpark’ and ‘Faculty Connection’ programmes, while Bizspeak, which enables startups with a profit of less than $1 million, will help the developers to make connections with each other while utilizing tools such as Publisher and Hosting.
Already, the group has been meeting developers in Kenya at various incubation centres including Strathmore University, iHub, eMobilis and Jomo Kenyatta University, with similar events expected to be held around other African countries.
“We are very excited to be here in Kenya interacting with the students and preparing them to innovate using our technology. We have a very good response from these young people on our various offerings and are confident that we should be seeing a churn of apps from them quite soon,” said the team’s lead evangelist Dele Akinsade.
The team will also be addressing some of the challenges that have been affecting local developers trying to enter the market, such as the lack of opportunity, capital trust and scale.
According to the Microsoft, small startups face various barriers in doing business, such as competition from big companies, hence the need for an intermediary to connect them with such organizations through scalability as well as by offering guarantees for them.
Microsoft adds that it has also been linking developers with venture capitalists and other sources of funds to enable them access to much needed capital.
On innovation centres, the company says that the incubation hubs have turned around the lives of hundreds of software developers, especially in countries like Tunisia, where a number of startups have grown into big companies, for instance Dotit, CHIFCO, Smart Host, Cyberesa and Hli.
A number of other Microsoft innovation centres also operate in Botswana and Uganda.
The apps team encourages local developers to send entries to the Microsoft Imagine Cup, the finals of which will be held in Russia. Last year, Ugandan startup Cipher 256 won $50,000 with its medical mobile applications.