Electric vehicle assembly firm, Solar Taxi Limited has been shortlisted for the inaugural Qualcomm mentorship programme.

The Ghanaian-based firm is amongst a number of startups in Africa to be recognised by the global American multinational corporation, Qualcomm Technologies.

The announcement by Qualcomm covered some 10 other start-ups who will participate in the inaugural Qualcomm Make in Africa startup mentorship programme, as part of the Qualcomm Africa Innovation Platform announced in December 2022.

These startups are developing innovative products in clean energy, agricultural technology, computing for education, geospatial predictive analysis, medical technologies, and innovations utilizing electric vehicles. Others also feature women in prominent leadership roles.

The startups based in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, and Rwanda, were selected from a pool of 550+ applicants from 34 African countries. 

They were carefully selected by a global jury based on a variety of qualifications including technical capabilities, business factors, and potential for innovation and intellectual property generation.

The selected startups will receive equity-free mentorship in business planning, engineering, intellectual property protection, and the application of advanced connectivity, sensing, AI/ML and other processing technologies for innovative end-to-end systems solutions.

The programme is the first of its kind in Africa and is designed to add to the continued growth of the continent’s technology startup ecosystem.

The shortlisted companies and their technology solutions are (sorted by alphabetical order):

• Ecorich Solutions – patented organic composting in Kenya

• Fixbot – Vehicle diagnostics and inspection via OBD dongle in Nigeria

• Karaa – e-Bike tracking, charging, retrofit, and rentals in Uganda

• Maotronics Systems Limited – IOT-enabled precision agriculture in Nigeria

• Microfuse – Affordable plugin computers for the education sector in Uganda

• Neural Labs Africa Ltd – Deep learning and computer vision for healthcare diagnosis in Kenya and Senegal

• OneTouch Diagnostics – Diabetes patch and monitoring system in Nigeria

• QuadLoop – Leveraging e-waste for solar e-Lanterns and battery storage in Nigeria.

• SLS Energy – Recycled lead-cell battery storage banks in Rwanda

• SolarTaxi – Electric vehicle (EV) taxi and fleet management in Ghana

Announced in December 2022, Qualcomm Make in Africa will provide 1:1 mentorship for the shortlisted companies with Qualcomm leaders on a regular cadence to guide startups to product realization, as well as provide masterclasses on product management, pitch clinic, IPR, and hardware architecture.

“I’d like to applaud and congratulate these 10 startups for their innovative solutions”, Sudeepto Roy, Vice President, Engineering, Qualcomm Incorporated said.

Solar Taxi shortlisted for Qualcomm Make in Africa mentorship

He continued, “I am beyond excited to hear about their respective problem domains and innovative solutions. They have applied their talents and ingenuity to address Africa’s present-day needs in areas of reliable access to clean energy, precision agriculture to conserve water and other resources, adaptations of electric transportation for many last-mile needs, using AI and other innovations for accelerating disease pathology and treatment, and addressing energy efficient, affordable computing for the education market.

Over the next few months, we will mentor them in areas of business development, technology applications and intellectual property law. We are honored to be able to participate in their entrepreneurial journey and their future impact in Africa.”

On her part, Elizabeth Migwalla, Vice President and Head of Government Affairs (Middle East and Africa) of Qualcomm International also added that, “As part of our new Africa Innovation Platform, the Qualcomm Make in Africa mentorship programme is one of many initiatives we are working on in close collaboration with government and industry stakeholders in Africa, to help position African entrepreneurs and researchers to service markets throughout the continent and realize their global ambitions”.

Solar Taxi shortlisted for Qualcomm Make in Africa mentorship

She continued, “We believe that startups based in Africa are best placed to identify uniquely African problems that can be solved through end-to-end systems solutions and new business models,” said “We congratulate the shortlisted companies and look forward to a fruitful collaboration for innovation in the coming months.”

The programme will culminate in a finale demo day in December 2023, connecting startups with various industry leaders, venture capitalists, investors, and other accelerators.

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