Image Credit: Bloomberg

New Delhi: Microsoft and Accenture on Tuesday announced to expand a joint initiative announced earlier this year to support startups that are focused on solving critical business challenges related to sustainability and skilling.

Initially focused on engaging startups with solutions in the areas of agriculture, education and healthcare, the hands-on programme provides technology support to help startups build scalable solutions and business models.

"Accelerated by the pandemic, social enterprises are reimagining how they can widen the reach and deepen that impact through technology. Our collaboration with Accenture will help startups scale their solutions quickly and drive meaningful and measurable impact," said Lathika Pai, Country Head – Microsoft for Startups, MENA & SAARC.

Through the initiative, Microsoft Research India and Accenture Labs will help social enterprise startups test and validate proof-of-concepts, conduct design thinking sessions to help entrepreneurs re-envision the impact of their solutions, and provide support in exploring and using Microsoft technologies.

"By expanding the focus of our joint initiative to encompass startups that have innovative and disruptive solutions in these areas, we can help scale the impact to improve how people live and work," said Sanjay Podder, managing director and Technology Innovation lead for ASIAM, Greater China and Japan at Accenture.

According to the companies, startups applying for the programme are required to have deployed their solutions and have early signs of impact.

The first cohort of startups in the programme focused on overcoming challenges in areas of food safety, livelihood, and education and were supported by Microsoft and Accenture with technology resources and mentoring to scale their solutions.

Among those were the Centre for Aquatic Livelihood Jaljeevika and Akshaya Patra Foundation.