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Microsoft South Africa has launched a support programme to boost tech startups. Called Head Start, the programme provides startups with open access to wide-ranging skills development resources, coaches and mentors, a fully-fledged customer network, and the platform on which to build their products and services. 

“As a company whose mission it is to empower every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more, we get how critical entrepreneurship is, especially in the South African context where job creation is vital if we are to improve our economy,” says Lionel Moyal, Commercial Partners Lead at Microsoft South Africa. 

Microsoft SA launches programme to boost tech startupsHe adds that tech startups need three specific doors to open in order to succeed. These include technology, business development, and compliance, regulation and legal. “A key differentiator of the Head Start programme is the direct access to coaches and mentors that candidates have to guide them through these three key areas, with over 50 Microsoft South Africa staff volunteering to mentor. Candidates just need to schedule an hour meeting with various business experts from multiple fields across the business, and they’ll get one-to-one expert advice straight from those in the know.”

Technology mentoring will cover topics such as app development, data and AI, DevOps, cloud platform, security, business apps, and the modern workplace. Business mentoring will include guidance around marketing, HR, finance, and business development. The legal mentorship will cover GDPR, security, compliance and legal.

Moyal says that the business benefits for tech startups are multiple and immediate. “When candidates join the Microsoft Partner Network, they instantly become part of a global community that connects them to the relationships, insights, tools, resources, and programmes needed to amaze customers and drive growth. Signing up to Head Start means direct access to digital coaching and training, live events, and more. With all types of internationally-recognised qualifications and certifications offered by Microsoft Head Start, tech startups can vastly improve their knowledge and boost their organisation's trajectory.”

Through Head Start, Microsoft South Africa can help grow tech startup businesses by opening the right doors at every stage of the journey, he adds. “When we talk about empowerment, we simply mean that with the right tools, anyone can become anything. By connecting tech startups with a worldwide network of customers, cloud architects, business development experts, and the latest cloud technologies, Microsoft wants to nurture and evolve these startups into fully-fledged Microsoft partners themselves. The ecosystem itself is far bigger than Microsoft, but by backing the bold entrepreneurial spirit of the brave tech startup, we can bring real change to the future of the country and the continent. There’s no better investment.”

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