Female founded Scottish tech company scoops up global Microsoft award in its first year!
Posted by Lindsay Climson
Glasgow, United Kingdom — July 13, 2020 — Akari Solutions Limited, a female founded tech start up with a focus on digital inclusion was announced by Microsoft as the winner of the Global Diversity and Inclusion Changemaker 2020 Microsoft Partner of the Year Award. The company was honored among a global field of top Microsoft partners for demonstrating excellence in innovation and implementation of customer solutions based on Microsoft technology.
“I am massively proud of what Akari has achieved in this last year. We set out to create a female founded tech organisation with a focus on inclusion and have seen more people than we ever expected join us in taking up the mantle to support inclusivity in tech. The market has shown that organisations small and large are truly embracing digital inclusion and this award from Microsoft is a massive honor that finishes off a fantastic first year. We are extremely excited to see a UK partner take home this global accolade as it shows how far forward, we are and how ready we are to embrace true inclusion and accessibility”. – Margaret Totten, Managing Director
The Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards recognise Microsoft partners that have developed and delivered exceptional Microsoft-based solutions during the past year. The awards were classified in several categories, with honorees chosen from a set of more than 3,300 submitted nominations from more than 100 countries worldwide. Akari Solutions was recognized for providing outstanding solutions and services in Diversity and Inclusion.
The Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Changemaker Partner of the Year Award recognizes an organization that excels at providing innovative and unique services or solutions based on Microsoft technologies to help solve D&I challenges for customers and demonstrating thought leadership in diversity and inclusion. D&I has grown in its strategic importance to higher organizational and business performance as well as innovation and market value.
“It is an honor to recognize the winners and finalists of the 2020 Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards,” said Gavriella Schuster, corporate vice president, One Commercial Partner, Microsoft. “These partners go above and beyond, delivering timely solutions that solve the complex challenges that businesses around the world face – from communicating and collaborating virtually to helping customers realize their full potential with Azure cloud services, and beyond. I am proud to honor and congratulate each winner and finalist.”
Akari Solutions are a Scottish based, Microsoft Gold Partner that set out to create a solutions with an accessibility twist, deep technical knowledge with a passion for inclusion and diversity to truly level the playing field for people with hidden and situational disabilities. Using AI, Change Management, and a deep knowledge of the Microsoft stack they support organisations to digitally transform using the latest Microsoft Solutions with a focus on accessibility at the core of everything they do. Akari are the only Scottish technology company within the Microsoft eco system to win a global award from Microsoft this year. Being one of the many UK Companies to receive an award, Akari have been recognized for the Diversity and Inclusion Changemaker award based on our contributions to accessible solutions. Akari have been working with Microsoft for just over a year attaining multiple Microsoft Gold competencies in record time, such as Cloud Platform, Cloud Productivity and recently were one of a handful of organizations to achieve an advanced specialization in adoption and Change Management.
Founded in 2019 by three female founders all with a strong background in the Microsoft Partner eco system. With a breadth of experience across SME to enterprise organisations operating at global scale. We have work with customers with differing requirements across commercial, local regional government and healthcare organisations all moving towards the cloud with a renewed focus on bringing staff from office to frontline along on an inclusive digital transformation journey, this has been ever more so important with the current global situation with increased home working and reliance on accessible solutions for all.
“As a team we are incredibly proud of what we have accomplished in such a short space of time, however more so of the experience we have been able to create for our customers, their staff and the positive change we are driving in our community, the recognition as a global winner in the Microsoft partner community is an incredible accolade for our business and our team.” – Kimberley Totten, Operations Director
Akari was also chosen to be one of only twelve members of the Microsoft AI for Good initiative, based on our accessible solutions and their impact within organisations. We are the only Scottish company among the chosen organisations. The AI for Good program allowed us to focus on the development of products with assistance from Microsoft helping to develop our virtual assistant bot AVA. Akari is also a part of Microsoft accessibility ‘Build for 2030’ campaign for having an accessibility-focused solution/ services.
“At Akari we’re always looking to utilize the best and latest technologies to help people get the job done, we use the Microsoft Cloud to ensure we can provide organisations with a secure, stable and trusted platform to enhance their users’ daily lives through accessible and inclusive solutions, receiving this award provides great opportunities for us to expand in this space” – Tom Cox, Chief Technology Officer
As well as building apps including a groundbreaking front-line app for a large energy organization to enable more than 6000 front line workers during Covid 19. Akari have also created our own accessible solution – AVA, a virtual learning assistant built on Microsoft teams which helps identify where a user may require assisted learning. Using AI, we can identify where assisted learning may be required or be provided accessible tools. As some disabilities are not visible sometimes this can hinder a person’s abilities within work, education and social environments. ATS an AI machine learning translation app that bridges the gap between costly translation or poor-quality machine translation also provides translations quickly and at scale with accuracy that can be depended on more than in person translations. As a response to the crisis around Covid 19, Akari offered both these products to all NHS customers and charity customers free, for life.
“This award proves how vital technology literacy is for social inclusion. By sharing what we have learned and developed, I hope that other organisations are inspired to accelerate their own inclusion and accessibility programmes; hiring diverse talent and reducing the unemployment rate for people with disabilities and from disadvantaged backgrounds.” – Natalie Bell, Business Development Director
“As society digitally transforms, we need to focus on ensuring that no-one is left behind or ignored in the design of technology. Akari’s work on accessibility has been recognised across Microsoft, as it aligns so well with our own mission to empower every person to achieve more. Equal access will not happen by accident. It needs to be deliberate, and Akari have a deep understanding of this social imperative.” – Hector Minto, Sr Technology Evangelist, Microsoft.
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