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Microsoft has announced ‘Microsoft for Startups’, a programme aimed at supporting the startups, and is reportedly committing $500 Mn over the next two years to offer joint sales engagements with startups, along with the access to its technology, and new community spaces that promote collaboration across local and global ecosystems.

The new programme would deliver some vital benefits to the startups. These benefits include access to technology, go-to-market and community benefits that will, in turn, help startups grow their customer and revenue base.

The company claims that startups are an indisputable innovation engine and it is partnering with founders and investors to help propel their growth.

The programme takes a unique approach to connect qualified startups with new customers and channel partners through over 40,000 of its sales representatives and hundreds of thousands of partners, build on a cloud technology that scales with them, and connect them to the right resources at the right time with existing and new properties like Microsoft Reactors.

Some of the reasons Microsoft is convinced why startups will join the programme are:

  • Access To Global Partner Ecosystem

The programme is aimed at providing dedicated resources to prepare the startup’s marketing and sales teams to effectively sell their cloud solutions to enterprise organisations, in partnership with Microsoft’s global sales organisation and partner ecosystem.

  • $120K In Free Azure Credits And Technical Support

The programme will also provide startups with up to $120K in free Azure credits, enterprise-grade technical support and development tools – supporting the languages of their choice, such as Node.js, Java, and .NET.  In addition, qualified startups also get access to productivity and business applications, including Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics 365.

  • Access To Its Key Enabled Features

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Microsoft for Startups will aspire to help startups at every stage in ecosystems around the world.

Besides these features, the programme will also open the startups to certain key Microsoft enabled features.

Microsoft Reactors is one of those features. These are physical spaces where entrepreneurs, developers, investors and the business community can come together to interact, learn and share. These are located in multiple cities across the US such as in Redmond, Seattle, San Francisco and New York.

Microsoft ScaleUp (formerly Microsoft Accelerators) is another such feature in the immersive global programme that offers late-stage and Series A startups access to its’s growth programmes, including co-marketing and co-selling opportunities, which would enable to hone their infrastructure and build their businesses.

Apart from the space and the acceleration programme, the tech giant will also open Microsoft Ventures for startups. This is Microsoft’s strategic venture capital investment team whose mission is to be an active partner at key stages of a startup’s growth, typically investing in Series A and D.

In 2016, Microsoft Ventures had announced the names of 12 startups in India that was selected for its 8th Accelerator batch of its Hi-Po and Scale Up Program. The cohort was selected from over 2,100 applications.

Over the last few years, Microsoft has globally launched a number of programmes for startups that range from free BizSpark credits for Azure and Microsoft’s developer and productivity tools, to Microsoft Ventures and the Microsoft Accelerator programs around the world.

With Microsoft stepping up to support the startup ecosystem, there are a number of competition it will have to face globally. Competitors like Google have been expanding their work with startups through similar accelerator programs. These competitions by such globally inspirational companies like Microsoft and Google will surely go a long way in nourishing the startup ecosystem.

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