AFRICA – American technology giant, Microsoft Corporation, has extended the reach of its women-focused cloud accelerator programme to Kenya and South Africa, designed to help women-led companies start and build their businesses through its cloud distribution channels.

The programme, which currently covers the US market, will also expanded to more countries including Canada, France, Germany, India, the UAE and the UK – besides Kenya and South Africa – in partnership with IdeaGen and Women in Cloud

Run by the company’s Women in Cloud initiative, the Microsoft Cloud Accelerator is an immersive six-month programme which the firm says aims to help female founders grow their businesses.

“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.

“As a woman leader at Microsoft, I’m proud of these initiatives, many of which have been established and are supported by women leaders within our organization,” said Charlotte Yarkoni, corporate vice president of cloud and AI at Microsoft.

“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 US$1 billion in cloud opportunity by providing accessible cloud technology to more than 1,000 women-led tech companies over the investment period, enabling them to scale their businesses for sustainable economic growth in all corners of the world.”

To date, the Women in Cloud Accelerator has provided opportunities to 30 women-owned companies while developing more than US$30 million of Cloud pipeline.

The Tech giant has also has unveiled plans of setting up a technology development centre in Kenya as part of the corporation’s strategy of growing into the region.

In Addition to Kenya, Microsoft is set to add a data centers in Nigeria at an investement worth US$10 million.

The Africa Development Centres will see the American tech giant partner with local ICT innovators and higher learning institutions to create online content suitable for the region including gaming applications as it targets to increase its presence in the continent.

The Kenya and Nigeria Africa Development Centres will be Microsoft’s 7th global centres as the giant software company seeks to expand its global reach.

Under the programme Microsoft will also partner with local universities to create a modern intelligent edge and cloud curriculum, unique to Africa.