Microsoft and Accenture team up to back social enterprises

10 March 2020 3 min. read

Microsoft India and Accenture Labs have teamed up to support entrepreneurs who are developing tech solutions that deliver a positive social and environmental impact. The partnership is focused on enterprises in South Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

Both firms will leverage their tech expertise and business acumen to provide a versatile range of support to entrepreneurs, with the ultimate aim of scaling business models to compete at an international level. Specifically, the duo will facilitate proof-of-concepts validation and design thinking sessions, while also offering the latest in Microsoft technology.

The artificial intelligence and cloud capabilities of Microsoft’s Centre for Societal Impact will also be available to social entrepreneurs. With a focus on developing economies, the partnership is looking to facilitate solutions for high-impact sectors, which include agriculture, education and healthcare.

As one of the central and representative economies for South Asia, India is an example of an economy where education and healthcare have a long way to go in order to promote the desired level of equity and realise its significant economic potential. Supporting the vibrant startup environment to solve these problems is a promising step in the right direction.

Sanjay Podder and Jean-Philippe Courtois

“Startups in the social impact and sustainability space are among the world’s most inspiring organisations. Microsoft’s collaboration with Accenture offers us an opportunity to empower these start-ups so they can use technology to make an even greater impact in addressing many of the world’s most pressing challenges” said Jean-Phillipe Courtois, President of Global Sales, Marketing and Operations at Microsoft.

Both firms are supporting the programme through their independent social impact or corporate social responsibility (CSR) structures, namely the Global Social Entrepreneurship programme for Microsoft and the Tech4Good programme at Accenture.

“Our experience shows that by applying emerging technologies to critical challenges facing society, we can accelerate social transformation. This collaboration is a great illustration of delivering on ‘value’ and ‘values’ – creating tangible business and social value while aligning with people’s values,” said Paul Doherty, Group Chief Executive at Accenture Technology.

This is not the first alliance between the two tech stalwarts. In 2018, the duo came together to support promising tech startups emerging in the vibrant Indian market, through a collaboration between Microsoft Accelerator and Accenture Ventures. This tie-up was focused on startups innovating on the cutting edge of Industry 4.0 tech, including Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain.