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Microsoft UK’s AI for Good accelerator programme is bringing ideas to life

The AI for Good Start Up Cohort listening to a speaker.

The AI for Good accelerator programme has launched with a cohort of inspiring and innovative businesses who want to create positive social transformation. Eleven organisations have joined an immersive accelerator programme to help advance their AI solutions in the areas of environmental sustainability and accessibility: AI for Earth and AI for Accessibility.

Run by Microsoft for Startups UK team and Social Tech Trust the programme will provide businesses with support from the CAST (Centre for Accelerating Social Technology), NPC (New Philanthropy Capital), and subject matter experts. Over the course of four months, the organisations will get access to the resources, knowledge, and people they need to help scale their AI solution. The unique curriculum will also provide them with business development, marketing, and technical support alongside talks, seminars, and workshops. All these will be delivered by experts from AI and the social tech space, with modules focussed on social impact frameworks and innovation.

“The important role of Microsoft in this programme is to act as a platform for you [the ventures] to carry out your job, to give you the courage and passion to be the best of yourselves.”

Jean-Philippe Courtois, Microsoft EVP GSMO.

AI is not going to shape our future. People will shape AI to make the future we want to see. The eleven organisations all have a unique opportunity to create positive social transformation using AI. This is why it’s important to ensure we turn learning into practice and ultimately, into impact.

Social Tech Trust Logo

“If we’re merely passive consumers of tech, we’ll have no control over its direction and little influence on its impact on our lives. By collaborating with Microsoft on the AI for Good Social Business Programme, we have the opportunity to shape AI to increase accessibility and benefit environmental sustainability. This means we’ll have a better chance of achieving the future that we want to see.”

– Edward Evans, Deputy CEO and Investment Director, Social Tech Trust


Who is involved?

Out of the eleven businesses chosen, seven are focussed on AI for accessibility, and four on AI for Earth.

Eve Joseph, Microsoft UK Responsibility Manager said; “The cohort have been selected on the basis that they are using innovative technologies to solve complex challenges which affect society at large. From boosting crop yields, to improving the lives of those living with accessibility needs. I’m thrilled that we have been able to create this programme and these eleven inspiring organisations are at the heart of it. I’m really excited to see what they can achieve.”

A group picture of the AI for Good Start Up Programme Group

The organisations are:

  • Access Earth – A free platform that allows you to find and rate places by your accessibility needs.
  • Agricompas – Agricultural data analytics to create knowledge and decision support for all users in major crop value chains.
  • Agrimetrics – Providing, connecting, and analysing complex data to drive greater productivity for agrifood businesses and deliver food sustainably.
  • BetterSpace – Aims to turn the tide on mental illness, by creating a world-leading mental wellbeing recommendation algorithm.
  • Citymaas – Using Blockchain and AI reduce congestion and emission in smart cities. City MAAS Assist is a pilot programme that helps people with disability to travel in smart cities.
  •– Enabling electric vehicle owners to enjoy savings on the cost of EV charging and a green motoring experience, delivered from renewable electricity sources.
  • iDyslexic – a new social app for those living and working with dyslexia and ADHD, with built-in secure classrooms connecting parents, students, teachers and caseworkers.
  • Immersive Rehab – Creates interactive physiotherapy programmes in virtual reality that improve the effectiveness of physical and neuro-rehabilitation.
  • Shock Innovations – ThermaFY from Shock Innovations simplifies thermography by making it easier to compare and interpret thermal images.
  • Upstream Health – Provides innovative technologies and new service approaches for health and social care teams, making a positive difference to clinicians, patients and families.
  • WeWalk – The world’s most revolutionary smart cane developed for the visually impaired people.

What’s next?

The cohort will focus on three core modules: Business development, AI best practice, and social impact innovation. They’ll also receive 1:1 support to help them make the right connections within Microsoft that will continue to support them over the programme.

“What I’m looking forward to in the next 17 weeks is how Access Earth can develop the strategy to become that global brand for accessibility,” says Matt McCann, founder and CEO. “But more equally, learning from everyone else that’s in the cohort. Because they have just as equally inspiring stories.”

They will work on improving the core structure of their business, using a unique three pillar approach from the Microsoft for Startups team, Social Tech Trust, Microsoft UK technologists and thought leaders. By the end of the programme in June, these organisations will have the tools and resources they need to show the positive impact their technology will have on society and the world around us.

Stay tuned as we share their learnings along the way as they advance through the programme. If you’re passionate about using technology for good and are interested in becoming part of the next cohort, register your interest here

Find out more

Social Tech Trust

Learn about AI for Accessibility

Learn about AI for Earth