October 27, 2020

Microsoft and Accenture Expand Commitment to Support Social Entrepreneurs

Companies extend program to support emerging technology startups with solutions focused on sustainability and skilling

NEW DELHI; Oct. 27, 2020 Aiming to amplify the societal impact of emerging technology, Microsoft and Accenture (NYSE: ACN) are expanding a joint initiative announced earlier this year to support startups that are focused on solving critical business challenges related to sustainability and skilling. The immersive, hands-on program provides technology support to help startups build scalable solutions and business models that can lead to more tangible and lasting benefits for people around the world.

Initially focused on engaging startups with solutions in the areas of agriculture, education and healthcare, Microsoft and Accenture are now extending the program to include startups with innovative solutions that focus on sustainability and skilling. Through the initiative, Microsoft Research India and Accenture Labs will help social enterprise startups test and validate proof-of-concepts, conduct design thinking sessions to help entrepreneurs re-envision the impact of their solutions, and provide support in exploring and using Microsoft technologies.

Lathika Pai, Country Head – Microsoft for Startups, MENA & SAARC, said, “Startups that are working towards social challenges are creating sustainable positive transformation through their innovative tech solutions. Accelerated by the pandemic, social enterprises are reimagining how they can widen the reach and deepen that impact through technology. Our collaboration with Accenture will help startups scale their solutions quickly and drive meaningful and measurable impact.”

Sanjay Podder, managing director and Technology Innovation lead for ASIAM, Greater China and Japan at Accenture, added, Accelerating the achievement of sustainable development goals and addressing the skills gap are areas of critical importance for enterprises across industries. By expanding the focus of our joint initiative to encompass startups that have innovative and disruptive solutions in these areas, we can help scale the impact to improve how people live and work .”

Startups applying for the program are required to have deployed their solutions and have early signs of impact. The first cohort of startups in the program focused on overcoming challenges in areas of food safety, livelihood, and education, and were extensively supported by Microsoft and Accenture with technology resources and mentoring to scale their solutions. Notable projects developed by startups in the initial cohort include: