Microsoft partners IDRCR for Rural Innovation Fund

CIOL Bureau
New Update


Microsoft India
under its sustainable and self-reliant rural market

initiative, Project Saksham, today announced the launch of Rural Innovation Fund


The Fund setup in partnership with IDRC's initiative at the 3rd
Annual meeting of the M S Swaminathan led Mission 2007 will help local software

application development vendors in smaller towns to create and provide localized

applications and solutions customized for the needs of the rural communities.

It will initially focus on verticals like telemedicine, education and
agriculture, areas which are of maximum interest to the rural communities.

The fund is a collaborative effort between

and IDRC, a Canadian Development organization and will be managed by a

committee set up under Mission 2007, comprising of eminent people from the

industry, academia and government. The program committee will choose the various

applications for the programs in the next 6 months.

The Rural Innovation Fund will have a two-pronged benefit. It will empower the
local software industry by promoting individual or organizational endeavors

towards low cost innovative applications and at the same time enable the

development of rural applications in a few areas.

Commenting on the initiative Ravi Venkatesan, chairman,
Microsoft India,

said, "We are confident that this will generate a new generation of local IT

entrepreneurs who will build localized and customized solutions for rural

communities. The Rural Innovation Fund is yet another step in the direction of

empowering people to achieve their potential."

Prof. MS Swaminathan, chairman, Swaminathan Foundation added, "Microsoft and
IDRC have taken tremendous initiatives to bring technology closer to the

marginalized sections of the society, especially the rural communities who could

immensely benefit by the proper utilization of technology. I am confident that

the launch of this Fund will create an entire network of rural IT entrepreneurs

who would develop local software specific to the needs of the rural communities.

It will lead to an entrepreneurship revolution in rural India and will help to

retain educated youth in villages. "

Commenting on IDRC's partnership, Dr Basheer Ahmad Shadrach, Senior Program
Officer, International Development Research (IDRC) & Secretary, Mission 2007

said, "We are excited to be a part of the Innovation Fund which will create IT

solutions for the rural areas and help build localized solutions for them. We

look forward to this partnership with Microsoft towards enabling the rural

ecosystem for building IT solutions for them. The idea is to scale innovations

across networks."

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