Microsoft has announced it is extending the reach of its Cloud Accelerator Programme to eight more countries including Kenya.

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The Cloud Accelerator Programme is an immersive 6-month programme designed to help women-led companies start and build their businesses through Microsoft and its cloud distribution channels.

The programme, which currently covers the US market, will be expanded to Kenya, South Africa, Canada, France, Germany, India, the UAE and the UK in partnership with IdeaGen and Women in Cloud.

This scale will provide women-owned technology companies all around the world with access to the cloud, mentorship, networking communities and resources to bring women-led innovations to market.

“Through a multi-million-dollar, multi-year investment from Microsoft, it is our goal that with this expansion and continued scaling, this program can help generate $1B in cloud opportunity by providing accessible cloud technology to more than 1,000 women-led tech companies annually, enabling them to scale their businesses for sustainable economic growth in all corners of the world,” says Charlotte Yarkoni, Corporate Vice President of Cloud + AI at Microsoft.

Since its formation two years ago, Women in Cloud, a community-led initiative built to empower women-led technology businesses to drive growth through cloud solutions and services, has become a leading community and resource for women innovators all over the world. The Microsoft Cloud Accelerator Programme is one of the key initiative within the Women in Cloud community.

“We’re excited to build on the program’s previous success. To date, the Women in Cloud Accelerator has provided opportunities to 30 women-owned companies, accelerating businesses such as Stylyze, Meylah, Genneve Health, and Automaton, while developing more than $30M of Cloud pipeline at its start,” explains Yarkoni.

Since launching Microsoft for Startups, Microsoft says its vision has been to deliver access to transformational technologies like cloud and AI and go-to-market and community benefits that help startups grow their customer and revenue base. As a part of that commitment, Microsoft supports the acceleration of opportunities for diverse and underrepresented startups and entrepreneurs in a myriad of ways such as partnerships with groups like Backstage Capital, Black and Brown Founders, The Riveter, and WTIA’s Founder Cohort Program, as well as launched programs like M12’s Female Founders Competition.

The announcement comes just a few weeks after Microsoft also launched its 7th global US $100 million Development Centre in Africa with a site in Nairobi, Kenya as well as Lagos, Nigeria.  The Africa Development Centre (ADC) will afford Kenyan talent the opportunity to work on cutting-edge technology suitable for Kenya and the rest of the world, reinforcing the country’s position as a leading regional digital innovation hub.

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