Over 3 billion people in the world today cannot access affordable internet and the educational, commercial and economic benefits of cloud-based services which led Microsoft to start the Affordable Access Initiative grant fund to assist companies working to bring internet access and new technologies, services and models to undeserved markets.
This year, Microsoft intends to continue the program and the applications are presently open.
In the fund’s first round of investments, Microsoft awarded grants to 12 businesses offering affordable internet access or cloud-based services in fields such as power generation, health, education, finance and agriculture.
AirJaldi, a 2016 grant recipient, provides high-quality Wi-Fi broadband connectivity at reasonable rates to more than 90,000 public- and private-sector clients in rural India. Vista Africa, another recipient from last year, is a cloud-based software platform that helps healthcare providers more easily screen, track and treat patients’ health in areas where connectivity is limited.
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.
This 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.
Applications will end on the 31st of January. You can apply here.