Press Release | March 30, 2023
Microsoft in partnership with 22 On Sloane hosted the Microsoft ChatGPT workshop on the 23rd of March 2023 at the 22 On Sloane startup campus.
The event aimed to share how Microsoft is leading in the era of AI and how they support startups. According to Microsoft, they have placed significant emphasis on enabling digital transformation across the African continent and have a goal of accelerating the growth of 10 000 African startups over the next five years. To reach this, Microsoft anticipates hosting various ecosystem events such as the one hosted at 22 On Sloane where the Johannesburg startup community was brought together to hear more about Microsoft’s role in supporting startups.
The Microsoft CTO, Mr Ravi Bhat emphasized how they are prioritising cutting-edge technologies to solve the current challenges and creating AI tools and technologies that everyone can use. Microsoft AI includes Windows, Xbox, Microsoft 365, and Microsoft Defender. Some of the key announcements of features that we should expect are the following: Azure Open AI, AI-powered Bing and Edge, Teams Premium and Viva Sales- Generative AI experience.
The ISV partner development manager, Mr TJ Zwane shared more about the Microsoft founder’s hub which is a digital platform that brings people, knowledge and benefits together to help solve startup challenges. Furthermore, the founder’s hub allows Microsoft to engage with accelerators, incubators and tech hubs across the continent. Founders’ hub supports startups through Azure credit, Dev tools, access to mentors and technical support.
The audience consisted of mostly tech startups who either work in corporate as developers or are startup founders who were interested in leveraging ChatGPT and learning more about OpenAI. Mr Jurgens De Bryn, the Microsoft Cloud Solution Architect showed various case studies of organisations that leveraged AI to be more efficient. Furthermore, he showed the audience a demo of how to use ChatGPT and the top 4 capabilities of Azure Open AI services which are: Content Generation, Summarization, Code Generation and Semantic Search.
We had a panel discussion which focused on how the private sector can leverage AI to advance their business objectives. The panel was facilitated by Mr Andile Stofile, the Governance and Corporate affairs lead with Mr Sithembiso Mpungose, the Chief Strategy and Investments Officer and Mr Thapelo Nthite, the co-founder and CEO of Botlhale AI.
Lastly, we had the honour of hosting the newly appointed Deputy Minister of the Department Of Small Business Development, Ms Dipuo Peters who gave a keynote speech about the importance of leveraging technology as the department and SMMEs for efficiency.
We had over 200 people in attendance and one of the startups indicated that their reason for attending the event was to understand Microsoft cloud base and AI integration on various networks as well as how AI interacts between data and analytics.
This event indicated that Microsoft still has a strong footprint in the ecosystem and in supporting startups. As an Enterprise Support Organisation, we are excited about the innovative AI technologies that Microsoft is yet to launch.
22 On Sloane is the largest startup campus in Africa. The campus offers disruptive startups and innovative SMEs a complete turnkey solution to scale, from the initial idea all the way to commercialisation, funding opportunities and access to markets. Its aim is to nurture the entrepreneurial mindset, ensure their sustainability, and explore development of new industries and contribute towards job creation in Africa.
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