Interview with Ratko Mutavdzic, CEE Regional Technology Officer at Microsoft and AI2FUTURE Organizing Committee co-chair.
Why is important for Microsoft to become a partner to the AI community?
Globally, scientists and organizations are facing unprecedented challenges to solve the issue of climate change and a disastrous loss of biodiversity, while continuously feeding a growing population and protecting water supplies. Developing sustainable solutions demands the fast collection and analysis of various data sets. This can be a too difficult task for small organizations, averting them from scaling their solutions and increasing their impact. To tackle this problem, Microsoft is empowering people and institutions with cloud and AI tools to solve those challenges.
People and organizations are now using AI to gather, process and scrutinise data at scale and speed which was unthinkable of even a decade ago. Microsoft is dedicated to accelerating advanced solutions and creating a more sustainable future with new open source apps that anyone can use, partnerships to fast-track development, and grants to empower organizations around the world. This way, everyone can benefit from AI, and together we can create a better future.
How can AI startups collaborate with Microsoft?
Since 2018, Microsoft for Startups works with select accelerators and VCs to support startups and startup ecosystems world-wide. Microsoft for Startups is a free, global program dedicated to helping B2B startups successfully scale their companies. Microsoft provides them with access to powerful technology including Azure and GitHub Enterprise coupled with a streamlined path to selling alongside Microsoft and our global partner ecosystem. The program delivers access to technology, go-to-market and community benefits that helps startups grow their customer and revenue base. Startups in our program secured over a $1BN in sales opportunities with the average deal size over six figures last year alone.
Startups are an indisputable innovation engine, and Microsoft is partnering with founders and investors to help propel their growth. Funded startups interested in applying to the program can ask their enabling organization for the Microsoft for Startups package sign-up details unique to their organization.
How can Microsoft help Croatia to become an important player in the AI field?
By helping Croatian AI companies, but also Croatian authorities, cultivate a responsible AI-ready culture throughout their businesses and put principles into place from implementation to governance with practices, tools, and technologies built on multidisciplinary research, shared learning, and leading innovation. With help of partners, Microsoft AI drives innovation in areas such as managing traffic, boosting safety, improving urban life, storing data and making it accessible, streamlining remote work, optimizing air quality etc. Such improvements enabled by AI are a key strategic point and a driver of economic development in the EU.
Microsoft collaborated on the document of Croatian Employers Association (HUP) “Artificial Intelligence Potential for Croatia” in which it has provided guidelines for goals and usage of solutions based on AI to propel its introduction and implementation in such fields of life. During AI2Future we have heard from experts from Germany, South Africa, Israel, Sweden and Serbia talk about their countries’ AI strategy, and Microsoft is a strong partner in reaching their AI potential, just like in Croatia.