Microsoft for Startups opens up Redmond's partner network to young businesses

A person in suit selecting a lighbulb symbol which also features the words "start-up" and symbols of growth
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Microsoft has announced a new programme called Microsoft for Startups, which aims to deliver access to technology, go-to-market and community benefits to help startups grow their customer and revenue base.

Essentially, the programme offers startups the resources to prepare startup marketing and sales teams to effectively sell their cloud solutions to enterprises in partnership with Microsoft’s global sales organisation and partner ecosystem.

As part of the new initiative, the Redmond firm has rebranded its Accelerators programme to ‘Microsoft ScaleUp’, a new global initiative that offers late-stage and series A startups that have “the greatest propensity to take advantage of Microsoft’s growth programs”, such as co-marketing and co-selling opportunities, to hone their infrastructure and build their businesses.

“Microsoft for Startups looks to connect qualified startups with new customers and channel partners,” the firm explained in a blog post. “[We have] over 40,000 sales representatives and hundreds of thousands of partners whose goal is to drive adoption of Microsoft cloud solutions into companies of all sizes and industries worldwide.”

Microsoft said it has set aside $500 million over the next two years to offer joint sales engagements with startups, along with access to its technology, and new community spaces to inspire collaboration between companies. This is part of a new expansion of the Microsoft Reactors project; physical spaces where entrepreneurs, developers, investors, etc can all meet and where Microsoft can host different social events and workshops.

“Startups are an indisputable innovation engine, and Microsoft is partnering with founders and investors to help propel their growth,” the firm added.

The programme will provide startups with up to $120,000 in free Azure cloud platform credits, enterprise-grade technical support and developer tools in any language, such as Node.js, Java and .NET. Those startups Microsoft deems “qualified” will also get access to productivity and business applications, including Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics 365.

“Startups inspire us by pushing the envelope of the possible and building products that improve our personal and professional lives,” Microsoft concluded. “[We’re] excited to partner with startups to empower every person and organisation on the planet.”