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Qualcomm picks African start-ups for incubation programme

By , ITWeb
Africa , 25 Apr 2024
Alex Rogers, president of Qualcomm Technological Licencing and Global Affairs.
Alex Rogers, president of Qualcomm Technological Licencing and Global Affairs.

Qualcomm yesterday revealed the shortlist of start-ups for its Qualcomm Make in Africa 2024 cohort, as well as the recipient of the 2023 Wireless Reach Social Impact Fund.

Qualcomm, which designs and develops wireless communication technologies and services, runs its Make in Africa equity-free mentorship programme as part of its Africa Innovation Platform.

The programme is tasked with discovering promising early-stage entrepreneurs interested in using advanced connectivity and processing technologies, such as 5G, Edge-AI/ML, Compute, and IoT.

This year, Qualcomm received around 250 submissions from 30 countries, which were then whittled down to a shortlist of 10 start-ups.

In alphabetical order, the shortlist includes:

• Aurora Health from Kenya, which provides AI-based cardiovascular health care tools; 

• CropScan from Kenya, which works with solar-powered smart farming IoT devices; 

• Cure Bionics from Tunisia, which makes smart 3D printed prosthetic arms; 

• DevisionX from Egypt, which provides AI-based low-code computer vision tools; 

• Kalio from Cameroon, which is building AI tools for agricultural IoT solutions;

• Kitovu from Nigeria, which provides tools and software for smart agricultural warehouse management; 

• NextAI Studios from Kenya, which builds AI-based emotion detection into toys for children’s mental healthcare;

• RIM Nextgen from Kenya, which uses smart tools for monitoring propane consumption; 

• Sparcx from South Africa, which uses AI for enhancing radar signal processing; and

• Vizmerald from Tunisia, which is working on AI-based textile industry inspection solutions.

The selected firms will receive mentorship, business coaching, engineering assistance for product development, and advice on intellectual property protection.

Alex Rogers, president of Qualcomm Technological Licencing and Global Affairs, said: “The quality and diversity of the applications received reflect the immense talent and potential within Africa's technology ecosystem. We are excited to work with the shortlisted startups and provide them with the necessary resources and support to drive innovation and create a positive impact in their communities." 

Qualcomm also revealed Ecorich Solutions as the winner of the 2023 Wireless Reach Social Impact Fund. The fund is mandated to help start-ups increase their societal and market impact.

Ecorich Solutions, a female-founded organisation from Kenya, will receive funds to expand the impact of its smart organic food composter.

The focus of the start-up is addressing the combined challenge of organic waste management and the need for sustainable farming practices, with the goal of lowering environmental pollution, increasing crop yields for farmers, and mitigating waste-related health hazards for communities.

The remaining nine start-ups from the 2023 cohort will also get stipends to help them expand.

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