IT giant to invest in local black companies

2010-04-24 08:36

UP to 10 small, majority ­black-owned software development

companies will have an ­opportunity to come under ­Microsoft’s wing.

From July this year, Microsoft plans to invest R472 million in

these companies in an effort to get them globally ­competitive by 2017.

Microsoft SA managing director Mteto Nyati said: “It wouldn’t be

sustainable to have too many ­companies. We decided to invest in and focus on a

handful of niche ­companies that have the potential to grow.” He said that from

early next month they would issue a request for proposals from interested

­companies across the country.

“The companies must be small, with a maximum of 30 employees. They

must have a good business model, quality leadership and a turnover of less then

R1 million a year,” he said.

Nyati said that they hoped the ­investment would help create job

­opportunities for unemployed ­software and IT graduates.

“We will invest heavily in ­infrastructure and management systems.

The selected companies will be given the latest IT ­equipment and will also move

to better locations if necessary,” Nyati said.

The deal has received some ­support from the local industry.

Steven Ambrose, managing ­director of World Wide Worx ­Strategy,

said: “If the mentoring and management training of the ­selected applicants is

well ­managed, we could see the ­emergence of a whole new breed of entrepreneurs

in the software ­industry in South Africa.

“The sheer amount of the ­investment, coupled with the low initial

capital requirements of most aspirant developers, could ­encourage the emergence

of the next ­Google from our own shores.”

Ambrose’s optimism is backed by his research firm’s forecast that

the internet would double from the ­current 5.3 million users to ­10 million

during the next three years.

Nyati said the investment could address some of the key challenges

facing the country if the developers created software solutions to ­address

needs in the health and ­education sectors.

In a addition to the money ­Microsoft is investing, the ­company

plans to spend time ­mentoring the small companies.

Nyati said: “We are creating ­future ­partnerships, not

­competition. We will use some of the solutions developed by these companies on

our platform.”

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.