Microsoft has extended the reach of its women-focused cloud accelerator programme to Kenya and South Africa, in a move it says aims to help female founders grow their businesses.

Run by the company’s Women in Cloud initiative, the Microsoft Cloud Accelerator is an immersive six-month programme designed to help women-led companies start and build their businesses through Microsoft and its cloud distribution channels.

The second accelerator cohort of women entrepreneurs has just been launched, and Microsoft has announced it will extend the programme’s reach to eight additional countries, with programmes planned for Kenya and South Africa as well as Canada, France, Germany, India, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United Kingdom (UK).

“This scale will provide women-owned technology companies all around the world with access to the cloud, mentorship, networking communities and resources to bring women-led innovations to market,” said Charlotte Yarkoni, corporate vice president of cloud and AI at Microsoft.

“Through a multi-million-dollar, multi-year investment from Microsoft, it is our goal that with this expansion and continued scaling, this program can help generate US$1 billion in cloud opportunity by providing accessible cloud technology to more than 1,000 women-led tech companies over the investment period, enabling them to scale their businesses for sustainable economic growth in all corners of the world.”

To date, the Women in Cloud Accelerator has provided opportunities to 30 women-owned companies. Members of women-led companies are encouraged to apply here for future editions.