Microsoft Philanthropies

Redmond, Washington. – December 1, 2016. Microsoft Corp. Announces that within its strategy of implementating Microsoft philanthropies policy it has renewed its Affordable Access Initiative grant fund for a second year. Microsoft offers grants to assist companies working to bring internet access and new technologies, services and models to underserved markets. According to the company, the application process is now open for a new set of partners.

Microsoft Philanthropies

Microsoft Offers Grants to Organizations Working to Improve Affordable Internet Access

“The social enterprises we support have inspired us with practical, high-impact and scalable approaches to help close the digital divide,” said Microsoft Affordable Access Initiatives Director Paul Garnett, writing in NextBillion. He continued: “It’s a privilege to see these solutions take shape, and to play a role in helping local entrepreneurs spur job creation and economic growth.”

In the fund’s first round of investments, Microsoft awarded grants to twelve businesses offering affordable internet access or cloud-based services in fields such as health, power generation, education, agriculture and finance.

AirJaldi, a social enterprise based in India and incorporated in 2009, is a 2016 grant recipient. The company provides high-quality Wi-Fi broadband connectivity at reasonable rates to more than 90,000 public- and private-sector clients in rural areas of the country. AirJaldi is an Indian leading innovator and implementer of technically and economically viable Internet connectivity solutions. In fact, Rural Broadband Pvt. Ltd., a Class A ISP (permitting it to operate all over India), uses the brand name AirJaldi networks. The activities are carried out in the Indian states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Bihar and Karnataka. The networks serve thousands of organizational, enterprise, non-profit, community-based and individual clients.

Vista Africa Groups a recipient from 2015. This group is a cloud-based software platform that helps healthcare providers more easily screen, track and treat patients’ health in areas where connectivity is limited. Vista Group started its operations from Nigeria in early 1980s. Through the years it expanded to other countries including Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and other areas. Besides, Vista Africa Group started trading offices in India and Dubai. The group sources their products directly from large manufacturers like paper mills and other major producers. This approach enables Vista Africa to be competitive in the market. The group is also associated with many major and fast growing industrial houses in Asia and Europe. These groups mutually assist to search beneficial investment opportunities in their respective regions. Over time Vista Africa Group has build trust and reliability across the whole of Western Africa. It embossed a bench mark in the global industry. The Vista Group has been stocking varieties of products from suppliers in Asia, Europe, South Africa and North & South America, making us a truly global source for paper and other products. Vista International with its infrastructure and distribution capabilities is today a reliable partner for manufacturers, joint venture partners and others all over the globe.

Microsoft Corp underlines that 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.

“Too many people around the world lack internet connectivity and the educational, commercial and economic benefits of cloud-based services,” said Mary Snapp, corporate vice president and head of Microsoft Philanthropies. “Affordable Access Initiative grants, and the technology ecosystems they help support, empower entrepreneurs to provide connectivity, which then enables the creation of critical services for those who need it most.”

How to Apply to Microsoft Grants

According to Microsoft, applicants to the grants must be commercial organizations 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 underserved markets. A full list of criteria, and the application, can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/affordable-access-initiative/home. Applications will be accepted until midnight PST on Jan. 31, 2017.

Microsoft Corp is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Note also that Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (or the Gates Foundation) exist. This private foundation has been founded by Bill and Melinda Gates in 2000. It seems that this foundation is the largest transparently operated private foundation in the world. Among the primary aims of the foundation are enhancing healthcare and reducing extreme poverty in the world. In America foundation helps expand educational opportunities and access to information technology. The foundation is based in Seattle, Washington, and it is controlled by its three trustees: Bill Gates, Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett. On November 22nd 2016, President Barack Obama honored Bill and Melinda Gates with The Presidential Medal of Freedom for their philanthropic efforts.

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