Qualcomm Reveals Shortlisted Startups for Make in Africa 2024

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Qualcomm Incorporated has announced the shortlisted startups for Qualcomm Make in Africa 2024, as well as the winner of the 2023 Wireless Reach Social Impact Fund.

The Qualcomm Africa Innovation Platform, now in its second year, aims to work with and support the development of Africa’s emerging technology ecosystem by providing mentorship, education, and training programs with a focus on 5G, Edge-AI/ML, Compute, and IoT. This year, Qualcomm received an overwhelming response, with approximately 250 applications from 30 countries.

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Startup cohort announced for 2024 Qualcomm Make In Africa startup incubation program.
Announcement of the awardee of the 2023 Wireless Reach Social Impact Fund, supporting startups in scaling their societal and market impact.

Development of L2Pro Africa website content nears completion, providing free online training on intellectual property protection.
As the first initiative of its kind in Africa, Qualcomm Make In Africa is an equity-free mentorship program that identifies promising early-stage startups keen on applying advanced connectivity and processing technologies such as 5G, Edge-AI/ML, Compute, and IoT to innovative end-to-end systems solutions, including hardware.

These startups have demonstrated exceptional potential in applying advanced connectivity and processing technologies to innovative end-to-end systems solutions. The selected startups will receive free mentorship, business coaching, access to engineering consultation for product development, and guidance on protecting intellectual property. The 2024 cohort includes the following startups (listed in alphabetical order):

Aurora Health from Kenya provides AI-based cardiovascular health care tools
CropScan from Kenya uses solar-powered smart farming IoT devices
Cure Bionics from Tunisia makes smart 3D printed prosthetic arms
DevisionX from Egypt provides AI-based low-code computer vision tools
Kalio from Cameroon is building AI tools for Agricultural IoT
Kitovu from Nigeria provides tools and software for smart agricultural warehouse management
NextAI Studios from Kenya builds AI-based emotion detection into toys for children’s mental healthcare
RIM Nextgen from Kenya, uses smart tools for monitoring propane consumption
Sparcx from South Africa uses AI for enhancing radar signal processing Vizmerald from Tunisia, is working on AI-based textile industry inspection

Qualcomm is also proud to announce the awardee of the 2023 Wireless Reach Social Impact Fund. This fund, provided by Qualcomm through its Qualcomm® Wireless Reach™ Initiative, aims to support startups in scaling their societal and market impact. Ecorich Solutions Limited, a female-founded organization based in Nairobi, Kenya, will be awarded funding to help scale the impact of their smart organic food composter. Wireless Reach funding will support Ecorich to address the dual challenge of organic waste management and the need for sustainable agricultural practices, with the goal of reducing environmental pollution, improving crop yields for farmers, and mitigating waste-related health risks for communities. The other nine startups from the 2023 cohort will also receive valuable stipends to continue fueling their growth. These startups have showcased innovative uses of wireless technology to address pressing needs in their communities.

In addition, Qualcomm is excited to highlight the progress of the L2Pro Africa IP e-learning Platform, a free online training program designed to empower startups, SMEs, and researchers in Africa to protect, secure, and maximize their innovations. This program has been created in collaboration with Adams and Adams, Africa’s leading intellectual property (IP) law firm. The education content has been updated with individual filing procedures for patents, industrial designs, and trademarks in the countries of Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Ghana, Rwanda and within the two African patent organizations, ARIPO and OAPI. These step-by-step descriptions of per-country filing requirements empower inventors to interact effectively with IP professionals such as an IP attorney and their respective IP offices.

“I am thrilled with the overwhelming response to the Africa Innovation Platform this year,” said Alex Rogers, President, QTL & Global Affairs, Qualcomm Incorporated. “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.”

“We applaud Qualcomm for launching the second year of its Innovate in Africa Platform, which not only equips the upcoming generation of African entrepreneurs with expertise in pivotal areas like AI/ML, healthcare, agri-tech, smart cities, and communications but also empowers them to safeguard their intellectual property through the complimentary L2ProAfrica program.”, said John Omo, secretary general, African Telecommunications Union (ATU).

Omo also emphasized that the ATU remains steadfast in its commitment to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship across the continent. “Our youth innovation program, among other initiatives, plays a crucial role in cultivating the talents and aspirations of Africa’s young visionaries,” he affirmed. “We are ready to collaborate with additional partners to realize this objective.”