Microsoft Corp. has unveiled Microsoft BizSpark, a global program designed to help accelerate the success of entrepreneurs and early-stage startups.
BizSpark provides startups and entrepreneurs with fast and easy access to current full-featured Microsoft development tools and production licenses of server products with no upfront costs and minimal requirements. The program also provides technical support and market visibility.
The BizSpark is structured to take advantage of the resources and support of a global network of hundreds of organizations such as economic development agencies, university incubators, hosters and investors, including The National Venture Capital Association (NVCA) and The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE). These BizSpark Network Partners provide guidance, mentorship and resources to help drive startup success.
“Entrepreneurs play a vital role in driving innovation and creating the kinds of new jobs that are essential to sustainable economic growth,” said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO. “Microsoft BizSpark is an exciting way for us to help provide business startups with the development tools, advice and exposure they need. We look forward to working with organizations and development agencies around the globe to foster entrepreneurship and help new companies succeed.”
As part of BizSpark, Microsoft is providing startups with a three-year Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) Professional subscription, which makes available for download a broad set of development tools needed to build, test and maintain an application on the Microsoft platform, including Microsoft Visual Studio and the Microsoft .NET Framework.
Through MSDN, BizSpark also provides professional support services and expert information resources. For startups building hosted software, BizSpark includes production licenses for application hosting and management servers including Windows Server, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server, BizTalk Server and Systems Center, with Microsoft Dynamics CRM to be added soon.
The program also will provide a worldwide network of hosting partners, offering discounted hosting services to startups that would like to take their business or product online using their BizSpark licenses. Finally, startups will have the opportunity to be profiled and promoted on the BizSparkDB, an online startup directory, where Microsoft will promote promising startups from around the world every day.
In addition to the core BizSpark offering, BizSpark startups will be eligible for other Microsoft offerings, such as Microsoft cloud services technologies, including access to the community technology preview (CTP) of the Azure Services Platform, and access to the community technical preview (CTP) of the Live Framework
Microsoft will also ensure that BizSpark members are notified of all programs of particular interest to startups, such as the Microsoft Web Platform Installer and Microsoft Web Application Installer. These offerings, make it easier for developers to bring compelling PHP and .NET Web applications to market faster with a streamlined download, install and configure experience, as well as design and development integration and pre-packaged open source applications that run well on the Microsoft Web Platform.
BizSpark is available worldwide to privately held startups building a software-based product or service that have been in business less than three years and have less than $1 million (U.S.) in revenue. BizSpark provides startups with software, support and visibility early in their life cycle when those resources are most needed and least affordable. As a demonstration of Microsoft’s commitment to startup success, a program fee of $100 (U.S.) is payable on exit from the program rather than upfront when joining