AgriTech Startup, ColdHubs, is a Recipient of the Third Annual Microsoft Airband Grant Fund

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Nigerian AgriTech Startup, ColdHubs, has been selected as one of the eight Microsoft Airband Grant Fund recipients for the year 2018 finding innovative ways to tackle the broadband access challenge.

According to Microsoft, these startups are overcoming barriers to provide affordable internet access to unconnected and underserved communities in the U.S., Africa and Asia using TV white spaces (TVWS) and other technologies.

Based in Owerri, the startup aims to empower smallholder farmers with the ability to earn better livelihoods through its solar-powered crop storage facilities help reduce food spoilage. And with the Microsoft’s Airband Grant, these refrigerated crop storage rooms would be used as Wi-Fi hotspots utilizing the TVWS technology, a vacant broadcast spectrum that enables internet connections in challenging rural terrain.

In creating these Wi-Fi “Farm Connect Centers,” ColdHubs would be enabling farmers to get online and access agricultural training, resources to improve crop yields and marketing and digital skills training.

Apart from ColdHubs, two other African startups were selected. These are Mesh Power (Rwanda) which operates solar-powered microgrids that use electrical and mobile technology to affordable electricity services to low-income, off-grid communities in Rwanda; and Agsol (Kenya) that manufactures solar-powered agro-processing machines purpose-built for poor, off-grid farming communities in developing countries.

The other five startups were chosen across the US and Asia and they include CV Wireless, Skylark WirelessTribal Digital VillageNumbers4Health from the US, and ME Solshare (Bangladesh, Asia).

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Over the next year, Microsoft would be working closely with these startups and the grant fund will be used to provide financing, technology, mentorship, networking opportunities, and other support to expand their innovative new technologies, services, and business models helping them deploy broadband to undeveloped areas.

The Airband Grant Fund is part of the Microsoft Airband Initiative launched last year to extend broadband access across the United States and, ultimately, connectivity around the globe.


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