Applications are now open for the Microsoft Affordable Access Initiative grant 2017. The first round of investments by the Microsoft Affordable Access Initiative saw 12 businesses awarded grants to boost their operations.
The fund is expected to assist companies working to bring internet access and new technologies, services and models to under-served markets. In addition to receiving funding and software to help power and develop their businesses, grant recipients, Microsoft said, would join a growing ecosystem of other grantees and funders to further increase their impact.
This is a good opportunity for smart entrepreneurs in the ICT sector to quickly scale their business with the support of one the most powerful IT company in the world, and also be exposed to global players in startup finance. If you can develop apps, you can think of innovative software solutions. If you are into solar power, with a little creativity you can think of a solution to provide access to people outside the grid ( That is how New Sun of Uganda won last year’s grant. )
“At Microsoft, we recently announced that we have awarded Affordable Access Initiative grants to twelve entrepreneurial businesses to help scale their solutions and business models to increase affordable Internet access in communities around the world. Each company will receive seed grants of $70,000 to $150,000 and resources including BizSpark tools such as free software, services and technology support to help extend the reach of their hardware, applications, connectivity and power solutions. Although there are still approximately 4 billion people globally not yet online, universal and affordable high-speed Internet access is more achievable than ever with new technologies and business innovations.
Microsoft’s Affordable Access Initiative aims to democratize access to the Internet through grants, commercial partnerships, connecting new leaders and community engagement. Together with our partners, we already have many exciting projects underway….”
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 under-served markets.
Applications will be accepted until midnight on January 31, 2017.
Some of these previous winners will give you ideas about the sort of project that are eligible:
Ekovolt is on a mission to simplify everyday life and connect people, places, and things with technology. With Affordable Access Initiative grant support, this wireless broadband and cloud services provider is expanding its solutions to small- and medium-sized enterprises in Nigeria.
African Renewable Energy Distributor (ARED) Rwanda:
ARED powers connectivity through stable, reliable energy solutions. In the heart of Kigali, Rwanda’s Nyabugogo market, ARED franchisees provide Mobile Solar Kiosks for phone charging, airtime, mobile money, content storage, and data connection. ARED also fosters gender equality and entrepreneurship by requiring at least 30 percent of franchisees to be women.
Movivo (United Kingdom):
Movivo is an application that allows users to earn free mobile data by trying new mobile apps, answering surveys, and completing crowdsourced tasks. With Microsoft support, UK-based Movivo is developing a global cross-platform service to expand its solution beyond Android devices.
New Sun Road (Uganda):
New Sun Road designs, builds and installs SolPower™ micro-grid systems with broadband Internet, remote monitoring and control, and data analytics.
With Affordable Access Initiative support, NSR is building out its next-generation network, micro-grid, and Stellar software solutions for small businesses and communities in Uganda’s Lake Victoria region.
C3 empowers customers by designing, implementing, operating, and optimizing broadband networks and providing triple play services in Malawi. To foster corporate social responsibility, C3 is deploying a TV White Space network for affordable Internet and telephone services in underserved rural areas, as well as e-learning, e-government, and e-health solutions.
VistaAfrica is creating a new generation of medical records and health information with an application that operates on the Microsoft Cloud and mobile devices, uses unique “occasionally connected” architecture for rugged and remote environments, leverages connectivity solutions like TV White Space, and utilizes robust development platforms including TFS and Xamarin.
AirJaldi believes that affordable Internet should be as accessible as roads, electricity, and water. To realize this vision, AirJaldi provides high-quality Wi-Fi broadband connectivity to rural India at reasonable rates. Through AirJaldi, over 90,000 clients from corporate, civil society, and private sectors have engaged online.
If you don’t apply, you stand no chance of winning. If you apply now, who knows…
Millionaires Academy will continue to hunt worldwide for genuine and reliable sources of finance for startups. We already have already accumulated a list of 50 organizations that are giving grants to startups and organizations, and we are updating the list constantly and adding more (Click here to read). Many youths are seeking for startup funds for their ideas, but are unfortunately ignorant of the many opportunities for grants and equity investment out there and even within our Country (Like TEEP, BOI, BOA, Dangote Fund, etc). Starting from March, Millionaires Academy will begin to send a monthly Financial Newsletter to all it’s registered members, to give updates on new grants. We are witnessing a global resurgence in grants and assistance to small businesses, startups and NGO’s, and we want to ensure that Nigeria gets it’s fair share. Hope you are already a member of Millionaires Academy?
To apply for the grant, click here.