Today's Top Entrepreneurship and Business Stories (19 May)

Swift Announces Innotribe’s African Fintech Winners, Startup Incubator, Maxum Digital, Launches In Braamfontein, and more


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Swift Announces Innotribe’s African Fintech Winners

Swift, the 40-plus global financial services giant, yesterday announced the names of the three "most promising" young African fintech companies in the Innotribe 2017 Startup Challenge.

Innotribe is a Swift initiative that seeks to bridge the gap between startups and innovators and the financial service industry. The initiative seeks out products and innovations that could disrupt current business models and create opportunities for new ones.

Irofit Technologies, Sokowatch and Vugapay will each receive a €10,000 cash prize after winning the challenge for Africa held in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on Wednesday. They will also get the opportunity to share insights about fintech innovation in Africa with the global financial community during Sibos, Swift’s annual global financial services conference, taking place in Toronto from 16 to 19 October.

Nigeria’s Irofit Technologies provides a mobile point of sale that helps small retailers process card payments in real time, even in settings where internet connection is poor.

Based in Kenya, Sokowatch is a last-mile distribution channel for consumer goods companies to reach small shops through an SMS ordering system.

The third winner, Rwanda’s Vugapay helps mobile money merchants get paid across Africa.

Startup Incubator, Maxum Digital, Launches In Braamfontein

The Gauteng Provincial Government will today launch a digital hub at the Tshimologong Precinct in Braamfontein in Johannesburg, aimed at assisting startup businesses and to foster entrepreneurship.

Lebogang Maile, the Gauteng MEC for the Department of Economic Development, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development and MEC of Gauteng Finance and eGovernment Barbara Creecy, will officially launch the Maxum Digital facility.

The Maxum Digital Incubator was operationalised in 2016 and is specifically located in Braamfontein, which is an inner-city area that is re-emerging as a vibrant Johannesburg district.

Innovation Hub, which collaborates with the University of the Witwatersrand, said: “Its objective is to foster entrepreneurship, identify and support developers and the creative community within the gaming, animation and virtual reality platforms in the Gauteng Province”.

The innovation agency said to date the programme had managed to recruit and incubate 15 startup businesses, which were predominantly composed of youth and women.

"Maxum Digital provides technical and business incubation support to start-ups that endeavour to solve customer needs or societal challenges through gaming, animation and virtual reality, and facilitate innovative digital projects by attracting firms who will provide entrepreneurs with practical exposure and opportunities in the market." (via African News Agency)

Microsoft To Build Azure Data Centres in South Africa

Microsoft yesterday revealed plans to deliver the complete, intelligent Microsoft Cloud for the first time from data centres located in Africa. This new investment is a major milestone in the company’s mission to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more, and a recognition of the enormous opportunities for digital transformation in Africa.

Expanding on existing investments, Microsoft will deliver cloud services, including Microsoft Azure, Office 365, and Dynamics 365, from data centres located in Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa with initial availability anticipated in 2018. The new cloud regions will offer enterprise-grade reliability and performance combined with data residency to help enable the tremendous opportunity for economic growth, and increase access to cloud and internet services for organisations and people across the African continent.

"We’re excited by the growing demand for cloud services in Africa and their ability to be a catalyst for new economic opportunities," said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president, Cloud and Enterprise Group, Microsoft Corp. "With cloud services ranging from intelligent collaboration to predictive analytics, the Microsoft Cloud delivered from Africa will enable developers to build new and innovative apps, customers to transform their businesses, and governments to better serve the needs of their citizens."

 Currently many companies in Africa rely on cloud services delivered from outside of the continent. Microsoft’s new investment will provide highly available, scalable, and secure cloud services across Africa with the option of data residency in South Africa. With the introduction of these new cloud regions, Microsoft has now announced 40 regions around the world – more than any major cloud provider. The combination of Microsoft’s global cloud infrastructure with the new regions in Africa will connect businesses with opportunities across the globe, help accelerate new investments, and improve access to cloud and internet services for people and organisations from Cairo to Cape Town.

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