Women entrepreneurs will have access to trusted technology, dedicated programs, learning resources and a global ecosystem to scale from idea to unicorn
Microsoft pledges support for women entrepreneurship in Asia to contribute towards inclusive economic growth
Microsoft Asia and She Loves Tech – a global platform committed to closing the funding gap for women entrepreneurs – today announced a multi-year partnership which spans 15 countries in Asia to contribute towards inclusive economic growth.
Ahmed Mazhari, President, Microsoft Asia, and Leanne Robers, Co-Founder, She Loves Tech launched the partnership at Singapore Week of Innovation and Technology (SWITCH) 2021
The partnership will see Microsoft support an Azure-powered digital platform to facilitate connections at scale between women entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and angel investors from around the world, to accelerate She Loves Tech's aspiration to unlock US$1 billion in capital for women-led businesses by 2030.
Startups in the She Loves Tech community will also get access to Microsoft technology, dedicated programs, learning resources, and a global ecosystem with deep technical expertise to support Asia-based women entrepreneurs' ambitions to scale businesses from idea to unicorn.
Ensuring access for women-founded startups through technology
According to Women in Startups: The Southeast Asia Edition, start-ups in Southeast Asia which have exclusively women founders garnered only 0.9% of total capital raised in the region.
The partnership aims to reduce the barriers women-led startups face in bringing their innovations to market. She Loves Tech startups will have access to Microsoft's trusted cloud environment, cutting-edge technology tools and security solutions to pilot born-in-the-cloud innovations and scale from idea to unicorn. This includes Microsoft Azure and cloud technologies including Azure credits, coding tools, access to GitHub, AI and analytic tools, and Microsoft productivity tools.
This will be complemented with access to a global ecosystem of industry experts, deep technical and co-selling expertise for faster go-to-market, and a community for mentoring, skilling, and funding. The goal is to ensure that founders are supported with resources for accelerating product development, hitting their targets through fundraising, and scaling know-how.
"Asian innovation is disrupting the world. Women will play an integral role in Asia's next phase of growth. We believe that inclusion and true gender parity can only be achieved through collaboration with the industry at large. Organizations like She Loves Tech are critical to create access and inspire women to become part of the tech industry. We know everyone wins when women are included," said Ahmed Mazhari, President of Microsoft Asia.
"Microsoft is proud to enter this partnership in Asia. We are committed to being part of the solution to reduce the barriers women entrepreneurs face in achieving their ambitions. This also reflects our own commitments in how we infuse D&I into our business. We are also reinvigorating how we engage with startups in Asia to support them on their journey from idea to unicorn. Ultimately, our ambition is to empower Asia as an engine of innovation for the world," said Mazhari.
"We are thrilled to have Microsoft on board with us to support women entrepreneurs in realizing their ambitions and as we work toward creating a level playing field for them in Asia. By helping over 10,000 women entrepreneurs gain access to funding, a global network, and support from other women founders from around the world, we hope their success will indirectly contribute towards creating 100,000 jobs across local economies in Asia, "said Leanne Robers, Co-Founder, She Loves Tech.
"We can only do this if we are maximizing all the levers to drive growth and opportunities for Asia's women founders who are powering the next generation of technology and innovation. As we accelerate towards a digital economy, these levers include capital, community, technology, mentors, ambassadors, and industry partners. We recognize Microsoft as a trusted technology partner with an aligned long-term vision to support women founders. Together, we can make a truly lasting, positive impact for future generations of women entrepreneurs," she added.
Bringing ideas to life
As an acceleration and community platform for women in technology, She Loves Tech holds an annual global startup competition across 50 countries designed for early stage, female-founded startups seeking seed, angel, or A-round funding with a minimum viable product that is past conceptual stage. Specifically, the focus is on products that have a positive impact on women. To date, startups have raised more than US$250 million post-competition.
Following the partnership with Microsoft, this year's startup participants will gain access to cutting-edge Microsoft technology to innovate, as well as targeted learning content on MS Learn and LinkedIn Learning through She Loves Tech's curriculum.
One of the startups already benefiting from this is Noodle Factory in Singapore, a unique platform that enables educators to provide AI-powered adaptive tutoring, exam preparation, plus the creation and grading of assessments, all with the click of a button.
"We believe that technology provides us an opportunity to innovate better products and services. At Noodle Factory, this means transforming education with Artificial Intelligence, empowering younger generations to learn, prepare for exams and more. Participating in the She Loves Tech competition this year gave us the opportunity to interact with like-minded individuals, gain access to mentorship and continuously challenge ourselves to reimagine the way we shape our services with the latest technologies from Microsoft. With access to expertise and know-how, we are confident to expand our presence in support of educators and students in our region," said Yvonne Soh, Co-Founder and CEO, Noodle Factory.
About She Loves Tech
She Loves Tech is globally recognized for running the world's largest startup competition for female entrepreneurs and its acceleration platform for women and technology, and for creating an unrivalled community for women-led businesses. It is a vibrant community of more than 8,000 entrepreneurs in over 50 countries, with established partnerships with global VCs and angel investors.