UK women will be offered assistance in starting companies and developing them in a new Microsoft initiative.
The US multinational corporation has released plans to expand its Cloud Accelerator Programme with a female focus to include eight more countries, with the UK listed among them. The goal of this new initiative is twofold – to encourage women across the globe to start businesses, and to address the present lack of female-owned firms launching startups.
Female-focused companies enrolled in Microsoft’s scheme will be enabled to access the cloud-based platform Azure and appreciate support in the form of mentoring, AI (artificial intelligence) technology, opportunities for networking and other important resources.
Investing in economic growth and social change
This long-term project shows a considerable investment from Microsoft in terms of funding. A multimillion-dollar programme, its goal is to make cloud technology available to over 1,000 technology companies led by women during the investment term. Within this period, those enrolled can start up and grow enterprises, and play an important role in developing healthy economies.
Research conducted by OnePol and FreeAgent states that one working woman in eight would like to set-up her own company. Government research suggests however, that only one out of five small to medium enterprises (SMEs) is female-run, although predictions indicate a growth of women entrepreneurs could potentially bolster the economy by £250bn. At present, only 9% of UK funding available for startups is being utilised in female-led businesses, according to the Entrepreneurs Network.
Microsoft Cloud and AI Corporate Vice-President, Charlotte Yarkoni stated:
“As a woman and a leader at Microsoft, I’m proud of our initiatives, many of which have been established and are supported by women leaders within our organisation. I am encouraged by our continued commitment to providing inspiration and mentorship for both women in tech and those just starting to develop an interest in the industry.”
Structural support through partnerships and networking
Microsoft has joined up with a community-run initiative called Women in Cloud, which helps women to develop companies using IdeaGen and cloud-based technology to roll out the programme. The eight countries set to benefit internationally are the UK, UAE, Canada, France, India, Germany, South Africa and Kenya. Brand new initiatives on US soil will include Chicago and New York.
“While there remains much to do, we at Microsoft believe that we will only be able to address our toughest technology challenges when we embrace diverse perspectives. To build this diversity, it’s critical to have a varied partner ecosystem and one that actively supports women entrepreneurs.”
Through associations with groups including Black and Brown Founders, Backstage Capital, WTIAs Founder Cohort program and The Riveter, the company’s Cloud Accelerator Programmes have assisted growth in 30 female-owned businesses that include Stylyze and Automaton.
From fledgling firms just starting out, to well-established enterprises, the team here at WM Reply offers support and advice on Microsoft technology. Specialists in collaborative software from Microsoft like SharePoint, we provide streamlined solutions that enhance workflow and productivity. If you’re looking for innovative ways to enhance the way you operate, get in touch with our expert team with your queries and questions.