Monday, 13 October 2014

Microsoft funding helps graduates to grow start-up

Image result for MicrosoftA START-UP created by four Strathclyde computer science graduates is helping to solve farming problems in Africa with seed funding from Microsoft.
Glasgow-based Cojengo has been awarded an innovation grant, technical support and one-on-one mentorship by the software giant to get its business model off the ground and fast track its growth.
The company has developed the VetAfrica mobile app to help tens of millions of farmers across the continent solve animal health issues and share disease surveillance data.
Craig Taylor, chief executive, said: "Our app enables vets, animal health workers and rural farmers to quickly and accurately diagnose livestock illness and identify which drugs are most effective to treat disease."
He said the app had been designed six years ago but had "sat on the shelf" until Microsoft unveiled its 4Afrika Initiative, which aims to accelerate African innovation with support for entrepreneurial companies.

He said: "What has become Cojengo was a student project. That was when I first became aware of these issues and designed an app to address them."
Mr Taylor went on to work in Edinburgh for national IT consultant Charteris, a Microsoft partner, only taking the plunge as an entrepreneur when the grant was approved at the start of this year.
He said: "What you tend to find in places like Kenya and Uganda is they don't have access on a daily basis to vets or animal health workers, and the phone can provide that. It has only become possible with the wider advent of mobile phone technology."
Mr Taylor said Microsoft's backing would put it in a "strong position for the future" not least by its connection to relevant partners to help commercialise its apps.
Cojengo has been nurtured by Business Gateway Glasgow and Scottish Enterprise as well as Strathclyde's Entrepreneurial Network and the Gabriel Investment Syndicate.
Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "Microsoft has shown faith in a Scottish company embracing, and tapping into, the mobile technology revolution sweeping Africa. This funding and support from one of the world's biggest companies will help Cojengo expand its business, and in doing so, help transform the lives of rural farmers on the African continent."
Peter Ferry, Scotland market development manager at Microsoft, added: "Taking innovation to the worldwide market as quickly as possible is imperative for tech start-ups."
The 4Afrika Innovation Grant recognises the potential of the VetAfrika app, and supports Cojengo in its growth."
He said Microsoft Scotland had featured Cojengo's innovation at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, attended by 16,000 tech industry entrepreneurs in Washington DC in July
Simon Smith at Business Gateway Glasgow said: "Glasgow has a strong reputation for innovation and creativity and Cojengo portrays that perfectly."
Source: Herald Scotland

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