Microsoft Corporation is rolling out the Microsoft-Ashoka Accelerator, a new social entrepreneur accelerator program in partnership with Ashoka. The program aims to nurture and grow an ecosystem of tech-enabled startups focused on social and environmental issues, said the technology giant.
Launched under the aegis of the Microsoft Technology for Social Impact (TSI) team, the accelerator is part of Microsoft’s worldwide Tech for Good initiative. India and France will be the first countries to pilot the program in March 2019. Simplon.co, known for enabling digital transformation in the nonprofits sector, will lead the on-ground management of the program in India, informed technology firms.
“Startups have become an engine for growth in India’s economy, catalyzing innovation. Our latest partnership with Ashoka and Simplon is an example of Microsoft’s continued efforts to support the country’s fast-growing startup ecosystem. We are excited about enabling young social entrepreneurs to tackle global issues by helping them build data-rich organizations that are fueled by cloud and AI technology,” said Jean-Philippe Courtois, EVP and President, Global Sales, Marketing & Operations, Microsoft Corporation.
The company said that the accelerator will provide startups technology access, AI and cloud expertise and customized mentoring for the development of intelligent and effective solutions for social issues. Microsoft for Startups will extend the benefits of its flagship program, ScaleUp, to help the shortlisted startups scale their projects and enhance their impact on society. This will include Azure credits, connect with local communities and experts as well as co-selling opportunities.
“Microsoft has always been an ardent enabler of the startup ecosystem in the country. This initiative is an endorsement of the potential of Indian innovators on the global stage. In partnership with Ashoka and Simplon, this program will support startups with technological and business expertise to sustainably scale their social and environmental impact,” said Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India.
Under this program, Ashoka will bring their expertise in the social impact space, in addition to access to their extensive network of global and local fellows and early stage social innovators.
“The tripartite partnership between Ashoka, Microsoft and Simplon is going to be a new approach to help the leading social entrepreneurs of our time. Ashoka Fellows demonstrate unique system-change approaches to solve grave social issues. But the complexities posed by a huge population in diverse geographies makes it further challenging. We believe that this partnership between Microsoft, Simplon and Ashoka will unlock new ways and methodologies through technology for these remarkable changemakers, not only to accelerate their impact but to change norms on pressing issues in society,” said Sunish Jauhari, India Leader, Ashoka.