Microsoft Awards Grants to 12 Entrepreneurial Businesses to Support Internet “Democratization” Plan

new-microsoft-logo_EMMicrosoft has awarded 12 entrepreneurial businesses with seed grants and resources — including BizSpark tools such as free software, services and technology support — to help the expansion of the company’s hardware, applications, connectivity and power systems.

The company said Monday the Affordable Access Initiative grants support the $1 billion investment plan of Microsoft to use cloud technology power to serve the public through broadband services, commercial partnerships and philanthropic programs.

“With more than half of the world’s population lacking access to the Internet, connectivity is a global challenge that demands creative problem solving,” said Peggy Johnson, Microsoft executive vice president of business development.

“By using technology that’s available now and partnering with local entrepreneurs who understand the needs of their communities, our hope is to create sustainable solutions that will not only have impact today but also in the years to come.”

The recipients of the grants include:

  • African Renewable Energy Distributor (Rwanda)
  • New Sun Road (Uganda)
  • Zaya Learning Labs (India)
  • AirJaldi (India)
  • Axiom Technologies (United States)
  • C3: Communications Consulting Centre (Malawi)
  • Ekovolt (Nigeria)
  • Wi-Fi Interactive Network (Philippines)
  • Kelase (Indonesia)
  • Movivo (United Kingdom)
  • (Argentina)
  • VistaBotswana (Botswana)

The Affordable Access Initiative works to “democratize” internet access through grants, partnerships and community engagement as well as the use of the YouthSpark program to make digital literacy, online safety and computer science education programs available, the company said.

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