Microsoft, through its Microsoft for Start-ups initiative, announced the launch of its Global Social Entrepreneurship programme at a plenary session of the Sankalp Africa Summit 2020 held in Nairobi, Kenya.
The Global Social Entrepreneurship programme has benefits aimed at elevating start-ups addressing an important social and environmental challenge through their products, services or operations. As a platform for innovation, entrepreneurship and impact investing, the Sankalp Forum was the ideal place for Microsoft, a strategic partner of the forum, to make this important announcement.
“Solving global social and environmental challenges requires synergy of the right technology, partners, conducive environment and technology. When start-ups work together with investors, enterprises, governments, non-profits and communities, we are able to unlock new potentials,” said Microsoft4Afrika Director Amrote Abdella at the launch of the programme.
This global initiative is designed to help social enterprise start-ups build and scale their companies to do good globally. Microsoft believes in providing the foundational building blocks to help social entrepreneurs create companies that can achieve worldwide impact. Social enterprises that become part of the Global Social Entrepreneurship programme will receive access to free Microsoft cloud technologies, including up to $120,000 in Azure credits, along with technical support and guidance.
Around the world, start-ups are creating new businesses, built around powerful technologies and designed to make the world a better place. Innovators and entrepreneurs are finding new ways to harness technology to drive purpose-led social enterprises that measure success not just by the profits they generate, but by the good they do. Microsoft is deeply inspired by the commitment of these social entrepreneurs, who are focusing their passion for positive change on improving human health and the environment, advancing social and economic equity, and much more.
Social impact startups from around the world are welcome to apply. The criteria to qualify for the programme includes a business metric that measures impact on an important social or environmental challenge; an established product or service that will benefit from access to enterprise customers; and a commitment to the ethical and responsible use of AI. Qualified startups will be eligible for grants in the areas of sustainability, accessibility, skills and employability.
Through Global Social Entrepreneurship, Microsoft looks forward to working in close partnership with social enterprises from around the world. A dedicated programme manager will help Global Social Entrepreneurship start-ups market and sell solutions and connect to large commercial organisations and nongovernmental organisations that are potential customers. Participants focused on sustainability, accessibility, and skills and employability will also be eligible for grants. Furthermore, the social enterprises that join the Global Social Entrepreneurship programme will be part of a worldwide community of like-minded innovators who come together to share ideas, foster connections and celebrate success.
The programme is available in 140 countries and will actively seek to support underrepresented founders with diverse perspectives and backgrounds.