Leading global wireless technology firm Qualcomm has launched its African Innovation Platform, a suite of mentorship, education, and training programmes created to support the development of Africa’s emerging technology ecosystem.
The platform will provide resources and support for local universities, small-to-medium sized startups, and grant participants, exposing them to Qualcomm’s engineers and its state-of-the-art capabilities suite for mobile platforms and technologies, including 4G, 5G, IoT, AI, and machine learning.
“The Africa Innovation Platform will stimulate innovation around product development, inspire learning, fuel research, and increase awareness around the value of intellectual property throughout the continent,” said Enrico Salvatori, senior vice president and president for Europe/Middle East and Africa at Qualcomm Europe. “At its core, Qualcomm is an R&D engine, and we are proud this programme will simultaneously inspire the next generation of inventors, while also fueling the broader technology ecosystem.”
Qualcomm representatives will engage and collaborate with governments, trade associations, and other key stakeholders throughout the continent, including the African Telecommunications Union (ATU), to launch the Africa Innovation Platform.
“The African Telecommunications Union is a firm advocate of innovation, and recently initiated a youth innovation programme for Africa with a projected financial value of about US$400,000,” said the ATU. “ATU welcomes Qualcomm’s Africa Innovation Initiative and, working together, looks forward to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), catalysing new business opportunities, and contributing to solving challenges in various sectors such as education, health, agriculture, movement, trade, and government services.”
Qualcomm’s Africa Innovation Platform includes a number of different programmes, but the key one from a startup perspective is its Make in Africa Startup Mentorship Programme, an equity-free mentorship programme to identify promising early-stage startups keen on applying advanced connectivity and processing technologies to innovative end-to-end systems solutions, including hardware, and provide these companies with business coaching, access to engineering consultation for product development, and guidance on protecting intellectual property.
“At Qualcomm, we have always been passionate about innovation. The Africa Innovation Platform is an exciting new programme that builds on our close work with governments, operators, and telecommunications standardisation bodies over the past several years,” said Elizabeth Migwalla, vice president and head of government affairs (Middle East and Africa) at Qualcomm International. “The programmes that make up this platform will ultimately help African companies service markets throughout the continent and realise their global ambitions, further accelerating the growth of Africa’s creation economy.”
Applications for these programmes are open now, and details of the application process, eligibility criteria, and benefits can be found on Qualcomm’s website.