Today, Microsoft announced the launch of its new BizSpark Plus program for business incubators and partnership with BlueChilli. The enhanced program allows business incubators to offer each of their startups up to $60,000 worth of Microsoft Windows Azure compute and storage services over a 24-month period.

“According to the World Bank, Australia is a world leader for ease of starting a new business. We believe the BizSpark Plus Program will help drive Australian entrepreneurship and innovation further,” said Gianpaolo Carraro, director of Developer Evangelism, Microsoft Australia. “This program will ensure our Australian software startups have access to world class technology during their inception, giving them a better chance of success and in turn creating jobs, wealth and innovation.”

The Microsoft BizSpark program is a global network 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 start a business. Since its inception in 2009, the BizSpark Program has grown to include over 2,300 partners and has helped over 45,000 startups, across 100 countries.

The BizSpark Plus initiative introduces new offers – facilitated through partners – to early-stage startups, the first of which provides up to $60,000 worth of Windows Azure services over two years. This involves one year of fully-subsidised Azure usage and a second year of Azure usage at a discounted rate of 50 per cent. In addition, the startups will be enrolled in BizSpark, which provides them with tools and software to help develop and deploy their solution.

In Australia, a range of investors and incubators have joined the BizSpark Plus program as partners, including: Angel Cube, Blue Chilli, Fishburners, Founders Institute, Push Start, StartPad, Start Mate, Startup Weekend and York Butter Factory.

These BizSpark Plus 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 startups. BizSpark Plus offers are available to startups by invite-only through their relationship with BizSpark Plus partners.

The goal of the BizSpark Plus program is to help startups grow their business by providing access to technology and software that enable startups to focus their time and energy on solving their business challenges and developing their ideas into strong marketable business proposals for investors.

Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin, founder of Blue Chilli:

“In 2012, we are looking to launch 12 new startups in the Australian market and the BizSpark Plus program will be crucial in the formative stages of some of these new companies. The relationship with Microsoft will allow us to offer our startups valuable support, services and access to technologies such as Windows Azure, giving them the leg up to succeed.”


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