Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) has launched a new fund to grow companies which bring affordable Internet access to underserved markets.
The fund is part of the company’s 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 get online.
Recipients will receive on average approx. $75k 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.
Applicants must be commercial organizations with two or more full-time employees and have a prototype of a working solution and 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.
Applications, which will be accepted until midnight PST on Jan. 15, 2016, can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/affordable-access-initiative/home.