Swedish AI Fund Looks for African Start-ups to Support

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The Swedish AI Fund (SAIF), a global non-governmental organisation (NGO) is searching for early stage African artificial intelligence (AI) start-ups seeking funding.

SAIF says it is looking for companies based in Africa, primarily at pre-seed stage, that have developed solutions and services leveraging AI, adding that selected start-ups will be provided with financial aid, grants and scholarships.

There are growing calls to step up global collaboration on the use of AI to drive sustainable development.

The United Nations (UN) tech agency, the International Telecommunication Union, has partnered with 40 organisations across the UN system, promoting AI to advance health, climate, gender, inclusive prosperity, sustainable infrastructure and other global development priorities.

For SAIF, the fund for AI projects is available in different forms in limited amounts for specific purposes, which SAIF says is between €10 000 (R161 000) and €15 000 (R242 000), awarded as non-equity micro-seed grants.

In a statement, the NGO says, each year, the board of trustees at the Swedish AI Fund decides the amount and how to make this fund available to a specific group of organisations, institutions and universities.

The initial fund being distributed across the continent is the current phase of €96 000 (R1.5 million).

To be eligible to receive funds from SAIF, candidates need to apply through SAIF’s official partners, and the initial Africa funding call will be through The AI Media Group.

“The AI Media Group is the primary launch partner for SAIF in Africa, along with launch partners AWS, Nvidia, Telkom, Embassy of Switzerland SA, Zindi, Cirrus AI and AiCE Kenya,” it says.

SAIF is also expanding to reach more countries. It is currently active in eight countries: Israel, Sweden, Albania, the UK, South Africa, Germany, Georgia and North Macedonia.