SLS Energy, a local startup focusing on recycling lead-cell batteries is among the top 10 African startup companies selected to benefit from the inaugural seven month equity-free mentorship program by tech giants Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. SLS Energy was also among the top five finalists for the inaugural Hanga Pitchfest. The 10 selected startups, according to organizers, are developing innovative products in clean energy, agricultural technology, computing for education, geospatial predictive analysis, medical technologies, and innovations utilizing electric vehicles. ALSO READ: Hanga Pitchfest finalists speak out on solutions, expectations SLS Energy joins prominent startups from across the continent including in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria and Ghana. “They were selected from a pool of more than 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.” Beneficiaries are expected to 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 program is the first of its kind in Africa and is designed to add to the continued growth of the continent’s technology startup ecosystem, Rwanda inclusive. Other shortlisted companies and their technology solutions include; Ecorich Solutions engaged in patented organic composting in Kenya, Fixbot, a startup from Nigeria involved in vehicle diagnostics and inspection via OBD dongle, Karaa from Uganda, in e-Bike tracking, charging, retrofit, and rentals, as well as Maotronics Systems Limited, an IOT-enabled precision agriculture startup from Nigeria. Others include Microfuse, also from Uganda, engaged in affordable plugin computers for the education sector, Neural Labs Africa Ltd, from Kenya and Senegal, whose innovations focus on deep learning and computer vision for healthcare diagnosis in the respective countries. The program will culminate in a final demo day in December 2023, connecting startups with various industry leaders, venture capitalists, investors, and other accelerators. “I’d like to applaud and congratulate these 10 startups for their innovative solutions,” said Sudeepto Roy, Vice President, Engineering, Qualcomm Incorporated. “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,” Roy said. He pointed out that over the next few months, they will mentor them in areas of business development, technology applications and intellectual property law, adding that they are honored to be able to participate in the entrepreneurial journey of the startups and their future impact in Africa. Elizabeth Migwalla, Vice President and Head of Government Affairs (Middle East and Africa), Qualcomm International, Inc., said that the Qualcomm “Make in Africa” will drive the innovation agenda on the continent and create new prospects for up and coming entrepreneurs. “As part of our new Africa Innovation Platform, the Qualcomm Make in Africa mentorship program 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,” “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. We congratulate the shortlisted companies and look forward to a fruitful collaboration for innovation in the coming months,” ” said Migwalla.