Tech giants Accenture and Microsoft have come together to accelerate innovation in the startup ecosystem. The two companies would host the third edition of the Accenture Ventures Challenge for 2020. The Accenture Ventures Challenge is specifically targeting the startup ecosystem in India. The winners would be recognized based on their contributions in these four categories –
– Supply Chain Resilience
– Channel Shift to Digital Commerce,
– Systems Resilience, and
– Responsible Technology
What is Accenture Ventures Challenge?
The Accenture Ventures Challenge is an annual event run by the Accenture Ventures Open Innovation program. It is targeting the startups in India by scanning and shortlisting relevant tech companies and offering them with corporate venturing services. This program identifies the best B2B tech startups to develop solutions for real-world challenges faced by businesses using Open Innovation-as-service with rapid prototyping capabilities.
It was launched in 2018. Things have changed drastically since then.
Becoming an Enterprise-Ready Start-Up Company
Doing business in 2020 is a lot more complex than what it was just six months ago. The COVID-19 pandemic has made things even more challenging, and at the back of digital innovations, the startup ecosystem in India has stalled significantly. Accenture Ventures Challenge in 2020 would be very different than its previous two editions. This year, Accenture is collaborating and providing first corporate access partnership for Microsoft‘s 100X100X100 program in India.
Lathika Pai, country head, Microsoft for Startups, MENA & SAARC, said,
“The collaboration between Microsoft’s 100X100X100 and the Accenture Ventures Challenge event reflects our commitment to boost the entrepreneurial energy of startups and build scale with the enterprise opportunities. This initiative will truly help startups evolve from being market-ready to enterprise-ready with the best resources and support from both Microsoft and Accenture.”
12 Innovative Tech Startups in the Fray
This year, in partnership with Microsoft’s 100X100X100 program, the Accenture Ventures Challenge 2020 will identify 12 innovative startups. These would be selected from business categories that are helping to address the socio-economic and human impact of COVID-19, driving innovation in the ’never normal’ era.
Winners will work with other companies in the Accenture Ventures Open Innovation partner program and co-develop solutions for Accenture clients globally.
Apart from this, the winners would also get a chance to access the Microsoft ScaleUp program.
The Microsoft ScaleUp program (previously called the Microsoft Accelerator) aims to support Series A-C tech startups with corporate access to Marketing, Sales, Support and Technical resources. Microsoft also offers startup support through-
- Microsoft Reactor
- M12 (formerly Microsoft Ventures)
Last year, the winners were chosen from Applied Intelligence categories, with specialized technology offerings in Analytics, Automation, Data, Industrial AI, and AI.
Avnish Sabharwal, Managing Director for Accenture Ventures and Open Innovation in India, added, “Collaboration across the ecosystem is crucial for driving innovation, and we are thrilled to bring Microsoft on board for this year’s Accenture Ventures Challenge. The ongoing business disruption requires an urgent response, and we are confident that we’ll discover innovative new solutions from deep tech startups to help solve some of the most pressing business and human challenges being faced by organizations in India and across the globe.”
Microsoft’s 100X100X100 program was launched earlier this year in India, with the objective of bringing together 100 committed companies and 100 early and growth startups with enterprise-ready SaaS solutions. The participating companies also commit $100K over a period of 18-24 months on solutions provided by the startups.
Currently, Microsoft operates across 11 Indian cities – Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, New Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune.
Microsoft offers its global cloud services from local data centers to accelerate digital transformation across Indian startups, businesses, and government organizations.
Source: Microsoft and Accenture