The first round of investments by the Microsoft Affordable Access Initiative saw 12 businesses awarded grants to boost their operations. Five among them were from Africa and one from Nigeria. Moving on, Microsoft announces it has renewed the Affordable Access Initiative for the second year running, and the application process is now open for a new set of partners.
The fund assists companies working to bring internet access and new technologies, services and models to underserved markets. In addition to receiving funding and software to help power and develop their businesses, grant recipients will join a growing ecosystem of other grantees and funders to further increase their impact.
The initiative is also connected to the work of Microsoft Philanthropies, which is helping to bring technology’s benefits to those who need them most. Microsoft Philanthropies is making its digital literacy, online safety and computer science education programs available to grant recipients and the communities they serve.
Applicants must run commercial organisations with two or more full-time employees and have a prototype of a working solution and, preferably, paying customers. Such products and business models might combine new cloud services and applications, low-cost forms of internet connectivity, and new payment mechanisms designed for consumers and smaller businesses in underserved markets.
Applications will be accepted until midnight on January 31, 2017. Interested candidates can apply here.