Microsoft Corporation says it has launched a new fund to cultivate companies with solutions that bring affordable Internet access to underserved markets.
According to the software giant, the fund is part of its Affordable Access Initiative, which invests in new last-mile access technologies, cloud-based services and applications, and business models that can reduce the cost of Internet access and help more people affordably get online.
“Today there are approximately 4 billion people globally without Internet access,” Peggy Johnson, executive vice president of business development at Microsoft says.
The Microsoft executive adds that, “the ability to close that gap is more achievable than ever with technology that is readily available and affordable in many parts of the world. Through this fund, we hope to kick-start the entrepreneurial process by identifying promising ideas that we can help nurture, grow and scale.”
Eligible applicants must be commercial organisations with two or more full-time employees and have a prototype of a working solution and preferably paying customers, the tech company says adding that a list of criteria, and the application, can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/affordable-access-initiative/home.
Under the plan, selected companies will receive on average approximately $75,000 in funding, free software and services and the opportunity to participate in a program offered by Microsoft to connect with other grant recipients and potential funders.
Applications will be accepted until midnight of January 15, 2016, according to the company.