Microsoft has announced the launch of the BizSpark Plus program to provide a fillip to the startup ecosystem in India. As part of this program, the company will offer $120,000 per year of free Azure Cloud services to each of the qualified startups. The startups can use $10,000 worth of credits monthly, to invest in Microsoft services to power their business. The program, in addition to open source friendly Azure, provides free software, developer tools, and technical support to help startups be successful.
Microsoft is partnering with 13 startup accelerators to roll out this program in the country. These include 91Springboard, Reliance GenNext, Zone Startups and Pitney Bowes among others. Globally, Microsoft is partnering with 150 startup accelerators in 47 countries to deploy this program. India, with its vibrant startup ecosystem, is a key country for Microsoft. In addition to Azure services, startups will receive the full suite of development and test software and tools such as Visual Studio, Windows and Office.
Microsoft BizSpark is a global program that helps software startups succeed by giving them access to Microsoft software development tools, connecting them with key industry players, including investors, and providing marketing visibility to help entrepreneurs starting a business.
Commenting on the matter, Rajinish Menon, Director, Microsoft Ventures India, maintained, “Startups need all the help they can to get access to the right tools, technology and guidance. At Microsoft, we are committed to supporting these startups and through the BizSpark Plus program we want to support India’s upcoming entrepreneurs and the government’s Digital India vision. We aim to help early stage companies accelerate innovation and deliver their product to customers as quickly as possible. Azure provides the productivity, security, analytics and scalability that startups need to quickly build and grow their businesses. We believe that Microsoft’s Azure Cloud is leading the way for startups and enterprises alike, with the most simple and complete cloud experience available.”
To qualify for the BizSpark Plus program, startups must be privately held; less than 5 years old; have a less than $1miilion revenue annually and be member of a select Accelerator or VC firm. In India, the program has limited seats for other startups as well.
These initiatives are in line with Microsoft’s long-term commitment to contribute to a Digital India. Marking the Digital India Week, the company has initiated multiple activities to drive digital empowerment of the Indian youth and communities. Aimed at preparing ‘Skilled India’, Digital India Hackathons are being held across 17 campuses in India, targeting over 4000 students.