Redmond headquartered technology giant Microsoft and global information technology services major Accenture have come together to help entrepreneurs and startups that are focused on social impact and sustainability.
Under the joint initiative, Microsoft Research India and Accenture Labs will help social enterprise startups test and validate proofs-of-concept, the companies said in a joint statement. The programme will focus on areas such as agriculture, education, and healthcare, and will initially work with startups in Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia.
“Microsoft’s collaboration with Accenture offers us an opportunity to empower these start-ups so they can use technology to make an even greater impact in addressing many of the world’s most pressing challenges. By empowering them, our goal is to help change the lives of a million people,” Jean-Philippe Courtois, EVP and president, global sales, marketing, and operations, Microsoft, said.
The joint programme will leverage the MSR India centre for societal impact through cloud and artificial intelligence (SCAI).
Microsoft Research India launched the SCAI centre last year. It focuses on creating, nurturing and deploying technologies that will have a large scale impact on society.
“By providing social impact entrepreneurs with direct access to the combined power of Accenture and Microsoft’s technology expertise, we can help significantly improve access, equality, inclusion, education, health, sustainability, and the environment,” Paul Daugherty, group chief executive, Accenture Technology and CTO at Accenture said.
Last month, Microsoft launched a new programme, dubbed 100X100X100, for B2B SaaS (software-as-a-services) startups in India. The programme plans to bring together over 200 companies that have enterprise-ready solutions to offer. Each of the participating companies will commit to spending $100,000 over a course of 18 months. Over 50 startups are currently part of the programme.