Startups & Ideas

Two Kenyan Startups selected for Qualcomm Mentorship Program

Qualcomm Technologies has announced the 10 African start-up companies that have been shortlisted for its inaugural Qualcomm Make in Africa mentorship program. The program is part of the Qualcomm Africa Innovation Platform that was launched in December 2022, and is designed to foster innovation, as well as accelerate the growth of Africa’s technology start-up ecosystem.

The start-ups, which are based in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, and Rwanda, were chosen from over 550 applicants from 34 African countries. The shortlisted companies were selected by a global jury based on their technical capabilities, business factors, and potential for innovation and intellectual property generation.

The selected companies will enter a seven-month equity-free mentorship program, which will provide guidance 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 mentorship program will culminate in a finale demo day in December 2023, where the startups will connect with various industry leaders, venture capitalists, investors, and other accelerators.

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Here is the list of startups selected for the inaugural Qualcomm Make in Africa mentorship program:

  • 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.

These start-ups are developing innovative products in clean energy, agricultural technology, computing for education, geospatial predictive analysis, medical technologies, and innovations utilising electric vehicles. The shortlisted companies also feature women in prominent leadership roles.

“I’d like to applaud and congratulate these 10 start-ups for their 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,” said Sudeepto Roy, Vice President, Engineering, Qualcomm Incorporated.

“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,” said Elizabeth Migwalla, Vice President and Head of Government Affairs (Middle East and Africa), Qualcomm International, Inc.

The mentorship 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 program will provide 1:1 mentorship for the shortlisted companies with Qualcomm leaders on a regular cadence to guide startups to product realisation, as well as provide masterclasses on product management, pitch clinic, IPR, and hardware architecture.

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