Women in Cloud’s Microsoft Cloud Accelerator is back! The Women in Cloud team is immensely happy to announce Cohort 4.0 after three successful cohorts which have expanded knowledge, access and inclusivity of entrepreneurs, while adding dollars to the economic system in the technology sector. 

Since inception, Women in Cloud’s mission has been to create Access for Acceleration to promote Action. Women In Cloud’s Microsoft Cloud Accelerator is designed as an immersive 6-month program to assist women-led tech companies to co-build, co-market and co-sell with Microsoft and their distribution channels. This program is expertly designed to help women entrepreneurs win enterprise opportunities, get access to Azure credits, an advisor community, and a global stage to showcase your business.

The 4.0 Cohort Immersive Kickoff session held on on Friday, August 28, 2020. The first session featured curated speakers, Chaitra Vedullapalli, Co-Founder and President of WiC; Karen Fassio, Marketing Director of Microsoft OCP and Co-Founder of WiC; Rahul Thakkar, Director – Advanced Services Development, Digital Enterprise, IT & Digital of Boeing; Allie Knull, Founder & CEO of Resume Free Inc.; and Patti Dobrowolski, CEO & Creative Activator of Up Your Creative Genius. The speakers consisted of founders, industry leaders and previous cohort entrepreneurs who set the tone for the new class about the current industry landscape, how to vision their cloud businesses, along with deliverables and takeaways by the end of 6 months. 

The cohort 4.0 is different from the previous editions for a number of reasons. The 4.0 cohort in the time of global pandemic requires us to depart from in-person programming for the immersive kickoff session. This cohort program, as usual, empowers entrepreneurs to more effectively connect as a community and access necessary resources to ultimately grow their business. COVID-19 has had a direct impact on our accelerator program and the way we conduct the program itself, but the pandemic has not stopped us. We have creatively found our way around it using effective digital tools to achieve more efficiency. The connection that we have found by conducting the Accelerator in a completely digital platform has built a family of women tech entrepreneurs to work together to achieve success in the enterprise space. Our weekly office hours, monthly live chats with industry leaders, and continued access to industry stages, has elevated our programming to an unmatched scale.

Our previously conducted in-person kick-off session will be conducted digitally. Going digital has let us expand our horizon and open this program to people from around the world rather than just a region. Cohort 4.0 boasts a diverse participation of companies from the United States, Canada, and Germany. The Digital Cloud Accelerator online course launch is on the agenda next. There is a positive shift in the attitude of entrepreneurs to continue learning, working towards growing their companies and bettering themselves in this time of uncertainty. 

This year’s WiC Microsoft Cloud Accelerator is more than just an effort to make economic contributions to the system by empowering entrepreneurs. It is about embracing the new normal and moving forward with a sense of community. It is about adopting self-empowerment and finding comfort in knowing where to turn for support with a community at your side. Most importantly, it is about collective growth and learning.

The cohort 4.0 will continue with various digital lessons, live speaker interviews, weekly digital office hours, and monthly team working sessions with everybody involved. The syllabus is shaped in a way to make it easier for entrepreneurs to seek answers and find success individually. Until we are safe to meet our leaders and entrepreneurs in person to celebrate the progress we will have made, we are all committed to taking part in this journey together. 

The flexibility and commitment to launch the program by our entrepreneurs during this turbulent time is greatly appreciated. We will become the force for change by building solutions not crippled by this chaos. We continue to look forward to this journey with this great group.

Presenting the Women in Cloud Microsoft Cloud Accelerator Cohort 4.0:

  • Priyansha Bagaria, Inviz AI
  • Tiasia OBrien, Seam Social Labs
  • Susan Sanders, Velaku
  • Emily Craven, Story City
  • Isabelle Lopez, MySmartJourney
  • Emmanuelle Tavernier, Oxia initiative inc.
  • Janice Omadeke, The Mentor Method
  • Joycelyn David, AV Communications
  • Kiyeon Nam, Smart B’zT LLC
  • Maret Thatcher, Argyle Inc.
  • Lisa Brown, PUG Interactive
  • Carmen Nazario, ELYON International
  • Linda Holliday, Citia
  • Katina Kenyon, Applaudo Studios
  • Humaira Ahmed, Locelle Digital Inc.
  • Heidi Watson, Canadian Electronic Health Information System Inc
  • Nataliya Tetruyeva, eKidz.eu
  • Garnette Weber, itracks
  • Yuan Karppanen, UNpkl

This year, Global Affairs Canada underwrote 50% of the accelerator fees for 8 Canadian companies that were approved to participate. Their generous support has allowed 8 of our 4.0 entrepreneurs to have the opportunity to scale their businesses to become co-sell and co-market ready with enterprise partners.

Economic Access is the tide that lifts all boats. Together we rise.

Women in Cloud (WiC) has partnered with IdeaGen to further the 2030 United Nations’ global goals through the identification of AI-based solutions by launching #AISolutions2030 Solution Design Contest. In 2015, the UN adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development proposing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UN’s mission is to employ technology and build a global blueprint for dignity, peace and prosperity of the planet.

Leveraging the UN Knowledge Repository, WIC and Ideagen are bringing some of the sharpest technologists and greatest business minds together to produce AI Solutions idea to contribute to UN SDGs.

After receiving 65+ applications by women-led innovators to showcase their solution, the following 10 semi-finalists have been shortlisted for the interview round;

Semi-finalists include:

  • The Scientific Data Engine (SDE) (led by Donna Conroy, Founder/CEO) will end and prevent global pandemics/epidemics by expediting the delivery of safe and effective scientific innovations (drugs, vaccines and diagnostics) and optimizing patient care using disease-specific, real-time clinical data powered by AI. (Goal 3: Good Health & Well-being)
  • VideoWiki (led by Nataliia Rzhevska, CIO, PhD in Pedagogy) is a simple tool for teachers to create teaching content without any advance knowledge of a tool or code – “Video Wikipedia for Learners and Creators” (Goal 4: Quality Education)
  • Share Cart (led by Madhuri Vegaraju, Software Architect) has the end goal to ensure every home has enough food to feed their family every day with dignity; because, sharing is caring.(Goal 2: Zero Hunger)
  • Seguro Project (led by Melissa Bush, Product Designer) is utilizing AI technologies to support domestic violence organizations in broadening their reach and depth in aiding as many women as possible to transition from domestic violence victim to survivor. (Goal 5: Gender Equality)
  • An Intelligent Drone-port (led by Daamini Visaalaakshi, BIE- Insouring2) is an infrastructure with Swarm of autonomous Drones and UAVs for community services with rapid response to any situation safeguarding communities. (Goal 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure)
  • Anonymous Interviewer (led by Erica Jackson, BI/Analytics) offers gender neutral interviews – “meet” your candidates anonymously and ask spontaneous questions in real time. (Goal 5: Gender Equality)
  • E-commerce which provides a marketing and raw material assistance for small scale industries world wide (led by Reshma Shetty, Manager) will provide a marketing and raw material assistance for small scale industries world wide and increase the access of small-scale industrial. (Goal 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure)
  • Kids Household Chores (led by Kruthika M Kanavi, Programmer Analyst) is a gaming app which aims at children learning as well as imbibing a new norm in the daily routine which is free of any gender stereotypes. (Goal 5: Gender Equality)
  • Smart Detection of Road Hazards using AI for Sustainable Cities (led by Gunjan Vaishnav, EO&T – BICIPL IT ENG SYSTEMS) provides automatic detection of road hazards to save precious lives (Goal 11: Sustainable Cities & Communities)
  • Mobile app to reduce food waste and carbon emissions (led by Leah Kim, AUTOMATION & FABRICATION) plans to transform our cities to be sustainable using cloud/AI computing to reduce residential food waste and consequently the greenhouse gas emissions. (Goal 11: Sustainable Cities & Communities)

At the closed interview session, teams will have the opportunity to present and pitch their solution ideas to a team of esteemed interviewers from Women in Cloud, Ideagen, Microsoft, and Qumulo. Solution ideas will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • The solution uniquely solves a UN Sustainable Development Goal
  • The solution is original and innovative in approach to solve the selected UN Sustainable Development Goal
  • There is a market opportunity and revenue stream potential

Top 3 finalists will be selected on August 31 and will receive special honors such as an interview on IdeagenTV, a feature at IdeaGen’s 17 Days of Sustainability (September 17 – October 9), and a special award. 

#AISolutions2030 Solution Design Contest is presented in partnership with Microsoft, Ideagen, Boeing, and Meylah.

Women in Cloud is announcing the following finalists for the #CloudInnovateHERxDigital Pitch Challenge, and we are proud to present their solutions

Special congratulations to our 7 finalists that will be pitching their solutions on Friday, September 4 as they compete for the chance to win $5,000 in cash and cloud credits. Click here to see video teasers from the finalists!

  • UNpkl empowers customers to own and control their network data and puts network security on auto-pilot.
  • Captain’s Care takes the hassle out of boat ownership and gives you a trouble-free day on the water. We offer a variety of options to suit every need for marine maintenance and care. We fill the need for the owner operator that does not require a full-time captain or who needs expertise and assistance with marine services needed for their vessel.
  • The Scientific Data Engine (SDE) is a drug development platform that expedites delivery of safe and effective scientific innovations (drugs, vaccines & diagnostics) using disease specific, real-time clinical data powered by AI.
  • RevWork Platform has the intention to change the face of learning forever by providing actionable learning content that can be practiced around day to day events.
  • illuxi Intelligence is a cloud based, hosting and content delivering platform. We also produce, advise and support clients using our business intelligence tools for their content delivery.
  • Proverbs Events and Conferencing – Event managers and event marketers seek better, integrated tools that give us the right data we need to deliver meaningful, engaging events. “Integrated” is the keyword here as it’s not just about the event itself, it’s about tying the event into the brand experience all year round to build trust, loyalty and excitement. In 2020, there’s been a growing appetite for aggregated analytics dashboards. These dashboards pull data from multiple sources such as CRM’s, registration solutions, marketing platforms and social media.
  • iWeb IUMS has created a unique student universe that provides students, professors and administrators an amazing academic experience through a comprehensive digitized educational application provided on a FREEMIUM model that brings banks, fintech, edtech and several other student service players on a common platform.

With this pitch challenge, we wanted to go one step forward as we did in the last #CloudInnovateHERxDigital and give our audience a chance to choose their favorite solution among the lot. We are very happy to announce that, of the above finalists, the audience will get to vote for a solution they believe is revolutionary during the #CloudInnovateHERxDigital Pitch Challenge on Friday, September 4, 2020. As an added benefit, all attendees will have the chance to participate in up to one hour of open networking in the virtual lounge! Click here to register to attend and have your chance to vote. Use Code WIC2020 to access sponsored tickets!

The #CloudInnovateHER Pitch Challenge which was designed to help women tech entrepreneurs across global markets develop, showcase and win enterprise customers. This competition was designed to provide economic access and industry visibility to women tech entrepreneurs while also giving them an opportunity to present technologies that create a sustainable impact in today’s world.

The digital pitch challenge event will kick off with a special keynote by Seema Chopra, Global Technical Leader of Boeing on “Innovating Tech Solutions in a Turbulent Landscape”. Following that, our distinguished panel of judges will listen to each 3 minute pitch and ask questions to learn more about each solution before voting for the overall winner.

Our virtual pitch challenge is breaking the geographical barrier during the COVID-19 era while incorporating new-age technology like Remo. Remo is designed with a focus on large events to be hosted online with a special focus on community networking capabilities at small “roundtables”. The event is supported by Microsoft, M12 – Microsoft’s Venture FundGlobal Affairs CanadaThe Boeing CompanyMeylah and Remo.

This pitch challenge gives opportunities for women around the world to showcase their cloud solutions to industry leaders and cloud experts. Women in Cloud’s mission is to help bridge the access gap through this pitch challenge and help women technology entrepreneurs reach their goal and contribute to economic growth.

The Women in Cloud leadership is very excited to share that our Co-founder, Karen Fassio is one of the top finalist for the 2020 Champion Awards hosted by Female Founders Alliance.

Female Founders Alliance is a startup community and through their private network, investor community, and corporate partners they provide white glove experience through their programs. The Champion Awards recognize people and organizations that champion equity and diverse leadership across workplaces. There are seven categories for this award. 

Karen Fassio, Director of Partner Marketing & Channel Inclusion at Microsoft and Co-founder Women in Cloud, has been selected as a finalist in the Sponsor Category. A sponsor leverages their network and resources to help the women that they mentor advance and succeed in their career. 

Time and time again, she has always believed in helping women entrepreneurs and leaders and we would like to thank her for her continued dedication to help other women leaders and entrepreneurs realize their dream.

We would like to congratulate her and wish her all the best. 

Can everyone please take 5 minutes to do 2 things?

1.  Vote.  Please click here to vote and help Karen win!   

2. Share, and ask your friends (who have no clue why you are always going on about WIC and all this stuff) to vote:  https://www.linkedin.com/posts/female-founders-alliance_we-are-proud-to-announce-our-finalists-for-activity-6692546785854009344-kOiG

What our community is saying:

Karen has been an incredible leader in this organization, and a patient sponsor and advisor of Automaton since the day we met at the first WIC cohort.   — MH Lines, Founder of Automaton

Karen Fassio is such a wonderful supporter of SO many female-founded businesses, including Lions + Tigers this is a much-deserved nomination!! — Brea Stemer,  Founder of L&T

Earlier this year Women in Cloud joined the EQUALS Global Partnership, which brings together more than 90 stakeholders including, governments, private sector, United Nation entities, academia and not-for-profit organizations to accelerate efforts towards bridging the gender digital divide and fostering gender equality in the digital age.

Last week, we were happy to announce that our very own Co-founder and President, Chaitra Vedullapalli joined forces with the International Trade Centre (ITC) to deliver a SheTrades Invest course webinar in support of EQUALS. 

Earlier this year Women in Cloud joined the EQUALS Global Partnership, which brings together more than 90 stakeholders including, governments, private sector, United Nation entities, academia and not-for-profit organizations to accelerate efforts towards bridging the gender digital divide and fostering gender equality in the digital age.

The SheTrades Invest course is a 5-part webinar series designed by ITC’s SheTrades Initiative to help women entrepreneurs succeed in the technology sector by improving their access to finance. The SheTrades initiative aims to connect 3 million women entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses to international markets by 2021. The initiative offers a blueprint of seven global actions to unlock markets for women as well as a web and mobile app for women entrepreneurs to connect to buyers, investors, and new markets. 

On 23 June 2020, Chaitra Vedullapalli presented the fifth and final webinar in the course on the topic of, ‘How to get ready for corporate contracts: The art of winning & keeping enterprise customers’. Chaitra as the Co-founder of Meylah Corporation has had her ups and downs in the tech industry in terms of securing customers and contracts during her initial days and was well placed to share her learnings with course participants during the live 1.5-hour interactive webinar.

There are also other course webinars including , ‘Identifying the right financial instruments for your technology company’ co-hosted by Dr. Gitanjali Swamy, Managing Partner at IoTask & Representative to the EQUALS Leadership Coalition that can be accessed via the EQUALS website here.

The SheTrades Invest course on access to finance is very timely as the International Finance Corporation (IFC) estimates that MSMEs face a financing gap of approximately $5.2 trillion dollars annually. According to the World Bank, women led enterprises receive only 3 percent of all venture capital funding. The SheTrades invest course aims to close this gap by equipping women entrepreneurs with the skills, tools and knowledge to meet the needs of investors and securing financing. 

Women in Cloud as a community is striving through the collaborative efforts of our partners and members. In this regard, we are extremely honored to contribute to the SheTrades Invest course webinar and the efforts of EQUALS Global Partnership and the International Trade Centre. Furthermore, to watch a recording of Chaitra’s session and access other webinars in support of EQUALS,  please visit:  https://www.equals.org/leadership-webinar.