So what is this BizSpark thing & how can I get my hands on it?


Since presenting at Boot Up Camp about BizSpark a few weeks agoWatermark, I have been asked quite a few times about the Microsoft BizSpark program, and most importantly people want to know if they qualify for it & how to get it. I thought I would write a short post about it in the hope of answering those questions.

I am actually surprised that there hasn’t been more buzz about it or a great take up of the program since it was announced in November last year as it really is a fantastic offering. I wish it had existed when I started my business as I most certainly would have taken it up!

Its actually a global offering that unlike Microsoft's larger Network Partner offerings, is specifically designed for and supports the start-up & entrepreneur companies in the software development space.

So Microsoft, What is BizSpark?

The Microsoft BizSpark program is based on the belief that if Microsoft helps Startups  succeed, we will help build a mutually beneficial and valued long-term relationship, and together build a more vibrant global software economy. Microsoft BizSpark helps Startups by
providing Microsoft software inexpensively, when they most need it and can least afford it, and by supporting a global network of support organizations − Startup incubators, investors, advisors, government agencies − that are equally involved and invested in software-fueled
innovation and entrepreneurship. Microsoft is committed to working with these organizations as part of the Microsoft BizSpark Network to ensure that we are supporting the broadest
possible Startup audience, in a way that complements the value those network organizations already provide.

(excerpt from the BizSpark FAQ’s you can find here)

But what do I get?

Included in the program is:

Software: BizSpark provides fast and easy access to Microsoft tools and technologies, for their immediate use in design, development, testing, demonstration, and hosted application production and deployment; (i.e. you get an MSDN Premium subscription)
Support: Professional Technical Support from Microsoft, including, for entrepreneurs working with early adopter technologies: access to unlimited email support, online training and invitations to local technical events. Examples of early adopter technologies: Windows® 7, Microsoft® Silverlight, Windows® Azure and Microsoft® SQL Server 2008 as well as
a connection to Network Partners, organizations that provide programs, mentoring and other resources to Startups; (i.e. you get access to technical support specialists, training & entry to our Early adoption programs such as TAP & Metro)
Visibility: The opportunity for global visibility on the MicrosoftStartupZone Website via the BizSparkDB, an online Startup directory, hosted on http://www.microsoftstartupzone.com\bizspark (i.e. You get exposure to potential investors, partners and customers & your innovation could be featured)

Tell ‘em the Price Son

So the thing that’s really exciting about this program is that there’s no upfront cost to enroll and lasts up to 3 years (that is of course unless you choose to exit the program, are acquired, or go public in that time)

Do I Network or go it alone?

Network Partners are advisors in the local software community who are recognised for their efforts and can specialize in promoting and supporting Startups through programs, business mentoring, networking, financial assistance, peer connections, and other resources that drive Startup success.

You can go through a network partner such as Bart Jellema from Tjoos who ran Boot Up Camp, is a Start up Camp Organiser & heavily involved in Startup Australia who has been identified as a local Network Partner.

Not into team sports? You can always sign up directly, just select the Apply Via Microsoft option on the 3rd step and one of our internal Champs (like me!) will review your application.

All you need is a Windows Live ID & in a matter of clicks its done! 🙂

So in Summary 

If you are:

  • Developing Software,
  • a privately owned company that’s
  • Less that 3 years old &
  • Making less that $1 Million per annum

Sign up & Get:

  • Premium MSDN Subscription
  • access to technical support specialists, training & entry to our Early adoption programs such as TAP & Metro & live events
  • exposure to potential investors, partners and customers & your innovation could be featured

More details can be found here, FAQ’s are listed here 

Sign Up is: HERE

🙂

Comments (4)

  1. Eric says:

    I just joined, after recently starting my company and getting by on express licenses until I had acquired the funds to get the full blown versions of the tools I need. This is extremely awesome. Thank you!

  2. Hi,

    I applied and clicked the link I got from Bill S at MS and then received an email that I was declined for BizSpark.  Could someone please help?

  3. Mark says:

    Interesting post. Microsoft recently announced that they are also offering WebsiteSpark as well. Since our company does both software development and web development, I am just wondering which program is better for us.

  4. franklove says:

    If our company does not qualify under the "Startup" criteria, can we qualify as a "Network Partner"? What are the criteria to qualify as a "network partner"?

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