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Microsoft Unveils ‘AI Fest’ to Help Startups Accelerate With AI Solutions

The African Startups AI Fest aims to showcase the transformative power of AI and how startups can use this revolutionary technology to drive innovation and take their ideas not only to local markets but a global stage.

At GITEX Africa in Marrakech, Morocco, Microsoft announced it will hold its first African Startups AI Fest in Johannesburg, South Africa, with virtual access available to attendees across Africa, on June 6th, 2024.

The hybrid event which promises to inspire, and support startups to accelerate their journey to market with the right AI-powered tech solutions, will bring together startup founders, entrepreneurs, business decision-makers, engineers, and developers in the startup ecosystem across Africa. At the same event, Microsoft’s startup partners, and customers across Africa will share their success stories, and up to 10,000 startups will be given access to industry-specific expertise and insights on how best to take their business to the next level with the help of artificial intelligence.

The African Startups AI Fest aims to showcase the transformative power of AI and how startups can use this revolutionary technology to drive innovation and take their ideas from local markets to a global stage.

“From AI-enabled tech solutions to advanced digital skills, startups need to be given every opportunity to thrive in a highly competitive global market because they are the catalysts for job creation and economic growth in Africa,” said Lillian Barnard, Microsoft Africa President, at the launch of the inaugural event at GITEX Africa in Marrakech, Morocco.

Barnard adds, “Empowered with the right tech tools, startups can scale their solutions, enhance productivity, and drive growth. At Microsoft, we believe that technology, particularly the transformative power of artificial intelligence, holds the key to a more empowered future in Africa”

Over the years, Microsoft has supported African startups’ growth and development. These include Legal Interact, M-KOPA, Omnisient, Zen Dawa, Deepecho, and Terragon, to mention a few.

Legal Interact is an independent software vendor that has integrated Microsoft AI into its software and recently launched the first AI lawyer in South Africa. The solution automates tasks by providing quick answers to legal questions, freeing up time for attorneys to address more complex legal queries.

Thanks to IoT tools and AI-powered automation in the cloud, M-KOPA is providing inclusive financial services such as insurance and loans to people across East Africa. The fintech startup provides millions of families and entrepreneurs with the financial support they need to purchase solar systems, motorbikes, and smartphones.

Attendees of the inaugural African Startups AI Fest will be introduced to these and other startup success stories in Africa. In addition, Microsoft, its partners, and customers will introduce and demonstrate how entrepreneurs can leverage AI tools to give their businesses the extra edge in a competitive landscape.

Microsoft aims to reach over 10,000 startups and provide them with customized support through the Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub programs.

Founders and entrepreneurs will be primed for growth through industry-specific webinars designed to help startups scale, pitch coaching sessions that will help investors enhance their pitching skills & navigate common challenges, investor community sessions that will connect startups with top investors from the continental investor community to glean key insights on securing their first investments, integration with the Microsoft Independent Software Vendor program and insights on how to best use AI technologies to propel their businesses forward.


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