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Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash. (GeekWire Photo / Monica Nickelsburg)

Microsoft unveiled its new Global Social Entrepreneurship program Friday, in an effort to support small businesses addressing societal and environmental challenges around the world. Entrepreneurs in 140 countries can apply for the program, which provides grants, technology, education, and customers through Microsoft’s resources.

  • To qualify for the program, each company must include a business metric that measures “impact on an important social or environmental challenge; an established product or service that will benefit from access to enterprise customers; and a commitment to the ethical and responsible use of AI.” For example, Microsoft selected a company that builds devices to collect and remove microplastics from the ocean.
  • Grantees will receive free access to Microsoft’s cloud services, including up to $120,000 in Azure credits.
  • Microsoft is partnering with organizations like MIT Solve, a marketplace for social impact services, to recruit entrepreneurs.
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