Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. has announced the selection of 10 startups to participate in the inaugural Qualcomm Make in Africa startup mentorship program, as part of the Qualcomm Africa Innovation Platform announced in December 2022. These startups are developing innovative products in clean energy, agricultural technology, computing for education, geospatial predictive analysis, medical technologies, and innovations utilizing electric vehicles. Several startups also feature women in prominent leadership roles.
The startups, based in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, and Rwanda, were selected from a pool of 550+ applicants from 34 African countries. They were carefully selected by a global jury based on a variety of qualifications including technical capabilities, business factors, and potential for innovation and intellectual property generation. The Qualcomm Make In Africa startups will receive equity-free mentorship in business planning, engineering, intellectual property protection, and the application of advanced connectivity, sensing, AI/ML and other processing technologies for innovative end-to-end systems solutions. The program is the first of its kind in Africa and is designed to add to the continued growth of the continent’s technology startup ecosystem.
The shortlisted companies and their technology solutions are (sorted by alphabetical order):
· Ecorich Solutions – patented organic composting in Kenya
· Fixbot – Vehicle diagnostics and inspection via OBD dongle in Nigeria
· Karaa – e-Bike tracking, charging, retrofit, and rentals in Uganda
· Maotronics Systems Limited – IOT-enabled precision agriculture in Nigeria
· Microfuse – Affordable plugin computers for the education sector in Uganda
· Neural Labs Africa Ltd – Deep learning and computer vision for healthcare diagnosis in Kenya and Senegal
· OneTouch Diagnostics – Diabetes patch and monitoring system in Nigeria
· QuadLoop – Leveraging e-waste for solar e-Lanterns and battery storage in Nigeria.
· SLS Energy – Recycled lead-cell battery storage banks in Rwanda
· SolarTaxi – Electric vehicle (EV) taxi and fleet management in Ghana
Announced in December 2022, Qualcomm Make in Africa will provide 1:1 mentorship for the shortlisted companies with Qualcomm leaders on a regular cadence to guide startups to product realization, as well as provide masterclasses on product management, pitch clinic, IPR, and hardware architecture. The program will culminate in a finale demo day in December 2023, connecting startups with various industry leaders, venture capitalists, investors, and other accelerators.
“I’d like to applaud and congratulate these 10 startups for their innovative solutions,” said Sudeepto Roy, Vice President, Engineering, Qualcomm Incorporated. “I am beyond excited to hear about their respective problem domains and innovative solutions. They have applied their talents and ingenuity to address Africa’s present-day needs in areas of reliable access to clean energy, precision agriculture to conserve water and other resources, adaptations of electric transportation for many last-mile needs, using AI and other innovations for accelerating disease pathology and treatment, and addressing energy efficient, affordable computing for the education market. Over the next few months, we will mentor them in areas of business development, technology applications and intellectual property law. We are honored to be able to participate in their entrepreneurial journey and their future impact in Africa.”
“As part of our new Africa Innovation Platform, the Qualcomm Make in Africa mentorship program is one of many initiatives we are working on in close collaboration with government and industry stakeholders in Africa, to help position African entrepreneurs and researchers to service markets throughout the continent and realize their global ambitions. We believe that startups based in Africa are best placed to identify uniquely African problems that can be solved through end-to-end systems solutions and new business models,” said Elizabeth Migwalla, Vice President and Head of Government Affairs (Middle East and Africa), Qualcomm International, Inc. “We congratulate the shortlisted companies and look forward to a fruitful collaboration for innovation in the coming months.”