Today, Microsoft announced the Global Social Entrepreneurship Program. Available in 140 countries, it aims to provide resources like technology, education, customers, and grants to startups that focus on social issues. Several startups have already qualified and are working with Microsoft on this.
OmniVis is a company that created a smartphone-based cholera detection system that only needs a few drops of water, and is currently being used in Bangladesh. Zindi is a company that hosts machine-learning competitions that lead to AI solutions across Africa, and over 10,000 data scientists are on-board. Then there's the Seabin Project, which has cleaned up over half a million tons of marine litter with over 800 trash-skimmers. The Seabin Project is at work in over 52 countries, skimming 3.6 tons a day.
In order to qualify for the program, the startup will need be a business that focuses on social or environmental issues, it needs to have a product or service that can benefit from enterprise customers, and it needs to commit to the ethical use of artificial intelligence.
Qualified startups will receive free Microsoft cloud services, including up to $120,000 in Azure credits. They'll also get their own program manager that can provide support and help them to connect to potential customers.