Today we launched a global programme known as BizSpark targeted at early stage software start-ups, with resources including access to Microsoft platform software and development tools with no upfront costs. The program will also provide access to technical support and marketing visibility from Microsoft, as well as support through a select group of network partners – industry associations, government agencies, university incubators and investors. Here in New Zealand, Incubators New Zealand, the New Zealand Software Association, the Angel Association New Zealand and Mindscape are among the initial network partners in the BizSpark programme. These organisations are working with software start-ups and can provide access to the BizSpark programme in addition to the other business and growth mentoring they normally provide.
If you are a software start-up that isn’t working with one of these business incubation organisations, you can still apply to the BizSpark programme here.
So what can start-ups get when they join the programme:
- Software: fast and easy access to Microsoft’s current full-featured development tools, platform technologies, and unlimited production licenses of server products for immediate use in developing and bringing to market innovative and interoperable solutions with no upfront costs and minimal requirements. Start-ups will also get access to the community technology preview (CTP) of the Microsoft Azure Services Platform.
- Support: professional technical support from Microsoft (MSDN) and community support from BizSpark Network Partners around the world who provide a wide range of support resources for software start ups. Network Partners are incubators, investors, advisors, government agencies and hosters who are vested in software-fuelled innovation and entrepreneurship.
- Visibility: a dedicated online start up directory, BizSparkDB, on the Microsoft Start up Zone website (www.microsoftstartupzone.com) which will highlight promising companies from around the world, including the “BizSpark Startup of the Day”. Through their relationship with Microsoft and BizSpark Network Partners, start-ups will achieve global visibility to an audience of potential investors, clients and partners.
This program lasts 3 years. There are no upfront costs. No Commitments. Start ups just have to pay USD100 at graduation.
Start-ups get access to BizSpark either through a Network Partner (e.g. Incubators NZ, NZ Software Association, Angel Association NZ and over 300+ entrepreneurial-focused organizations with a strong track record to helping young and promising technology companies succeed or through Microsoft BizSpark Program Leads (called “BizSpark Champs”). Start-ups can find both at Microsoft.com/bizspark.
Eligibility: BizSpark is available to start-ups that fit the following criteria.
- A private company building a software-based product or service
- In business for less than 3 years
- Less than $1M in revenue (2-4 local variants exist)
- Participation lasts up to three years
- BizSpark is immediately available worldwide in most countries
- 82 countries have a BizSpark Program Lead (“BizSpark Champs”) to provide support
www.microsoftstartupzone.com/bizspark has all the detailed program information.
If you have any questions, you can contact me via the ‘Email’ link at the top of this blog.