Microsoft’s drive to build a self sustainable startup ecosystem across Africa and the Middle East

Jan 11, 2019


Microsoft last year changed its business approach to dealing with Partners. Introducung a new win win strategy. A startegy where Microsoft see’s its partners as its growth engine. Ibrahim Youssry Microsoft Regional General Manager MEA MCC put’s it this way. “Our success comes with success to our partner ecosystem. To make you successful driving Microsoft business or your business on our technologies“.

“We believe that it takes an ecosystem to build a successful startup”

Muhammad Nabil

An Ecosystem for Startups to Thrive

It’s with this same kind of win win drive that Microsoft wants to engage Startups. Microsoft put’s it this way “you’re here to do great things. we’re here to help“. Microsoft announced Microsoft for Startups a platform for startups to grow, build and connect. The program gives startups access to technology, market and a community. The idea with this offering as shared during the Head Start Program in South Africa is to help startups grow their customer and revenue bases. It is also to ease the pressure and headaches associated with starting up. Director Commercial Partners Ecosystem,
Lionel Moyal, explains it this way. “We will support you to find your first customers and get your products to market as quickly as possible“.

At RiseUp Summit in Cairo, Egypt last year Microsoft’s Partner and Startup’s Strategy Lead, Muhammad Nabil shared some more details in relation to the region.

Microsoft has shaken up how it works with startups!
Microsoft aims to help startups at every stage of their journey.
Whether it’s taking an idea from inspiration to working code. Gaining access to Microsoft tools, building a business, making connections with customers through Microsoft Accelerators or getting the funds needed to really take off through Microsoft Ventures,
Microsoft wants startups to know: it is here to help.”

Muhammad Nabil,
Partners and Startup’s Strategy Lead,
Microsoft 4Afrika

For Muhammad, Microsoft believes it takes an Ecosystem to build a successful startup. He shares that “the reality is that the contribution to economies by SMEs in Africa and Middle East could be so much more if ecosystems worked together to enable true growth. If the focus is moved from only access to funds to true access to markets. [That’s] Helping the entrepreneurs to grow their businesses by helping them get more business.”

For Muhammad it has to be a delibrate decision and a long term approach of collaboration for mutual benefits. He said Microsoft 4Afrika’s strategy is not only to bring cutting edge technology to startups. But also to unlock markets to both business to business and buisness to consumer startups through Microosft’s scalable go to market programs.

Muhammad says Microsoft is committing $500M over the next two years through the Microsoft for Startups program. To offer joint sales engagements with startups, along with access to technology and new community spaces that promote collaboration across local and global ecosystems.

We believe that a focus on giving the startups and partners tools to grow their market access will greatly add to the overall growth of economies“.

Muhammad Nabil

This approach has turned trust into cash for Microsoft with its partners. Recording quater on quater sales growth especially in the cloud. Microsoft has been making the right calls lately, Is this the break startups in Africa and the Middle East need or are looking for?