Microsoft has launched its new BizSpark Plus program for a clutch of business incubators, allowing them to offer their start-ups up to $60,000 worth of technology.
The Microsoft BizSpark program is designed to give software start-ups access to Microsoft software development tools and connecting them with key industry players.
The BizSpark Plus initiative is aiming offers at early stage start-ups, the first of which provides up to $60,000 worth of Microsoft Windows Azure services over a two-year timeframe.
This includes one year of fully subsidised Azure usage, and a second year of Azure usage at a discounted rate of 50%.
In addition, the start-ups will be enrolled in BizSpark, which provides them with tools and softwar.
Gianpaolo Carraro, director of developer evangelism at Microsoft Australia, says Australia is known for ease of starting a new business, and the BizSpark Plus program aims to build on that.
“We believe the BizSpark Plus program will help drive Australian entrepreneurship and innovation further,” Carraro says.
“This program will ensure our Australian software start-ups have access to world-class technology during their inception, giving them a better chance of success.”
In Australia, BizSpark Plus program partners include AngelCube, Blue Chilli, Fishburners, Founder Institute, PushStart, StartPad, Startmate, Startup Weekend and York Butter Factory.
These partners were chosen for their ability to impact the Australian market through their influence in the entrepreneurial community and their proven success with early stage start-ups.
It should be noted BizSpark Plus offers are only available to start-ups by invite-only through their relationship with BizSpark Plus partners.
Blue Chilli founder Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin says he’s looking to launch 12 new start-ups this year, and the BizSpark Plus program will be crucial in the formative stages of these companies.
“The relationship with Microsoft will allow us to offer our start-ups valuable support, services and access to technologies such as Windows Azure, giving them the leg up to succeed,” he says.
Similarly, Fishburners director David Vandenberg, says he wants to develop a “sanctuary” for entrepreneurs.
“Microsoft BizSpark Plus allows us to give our entrepreneurs an environment where they can create and develop ideas into marketable businesses that can attract funding,” Vandenberg says.
“[The program] is helping our 100-plus entrepreneurs realise their business potential by offering support, expertise and technology at this crucial stage in their development.”
Meanwhile, Benjamin Ranck, co-director of the Founder Institute Sydney chapter, says he likes the fact that the program gives start-ups access to mentors as well as technology.