Wednesday, January 22, 2014

BizSpark for Start-ups

Microsoft has a great initiative for Start-ups – BizSpark. For Start-ups in their first 5 years, this gives them access to a ton of Microsoft Software (Windows, Office, Visual Studio, SQL Server, SharePoint, CRM) for free. I am in the process of helping a start-up, and was surprised they were not using this great FREE benefit from Microsoft. 

Eligibility - Your start-up qualifies for BizSpark if you are:

  • Developing software or apps
  • Less than 5 years old and privately held
  • Making less than US$1M annually

What you get

  • The MSDN Ultimate subscription (over $13,000 in software) provides the start-ups access to software downloads (over 11 terabytes of Microsoft products) for developer and testing purposes. This includes most of what you can think of: Windows 8 (and older), Windows Server 2012 (and older), Visual Studio 2012 Ultimate (and others), Team Foundation Server, SQL Server, SharePoint Server, etc.
  • Windows Azure hosting credits worth $150 a month which you can use to host your web site, your web app, Windows servers & yes Linux servers as well
  • Free for 3 Years !

Fine print

  • After 3 years, you keep everything you’ve used, get discounts to keep getting new software and benefits.
  • Microsoft might use your website for marketing (See the showcases on the BizSpark Website) – I’d consider this as a great positive!

What about Dynamics GP ? – I haven’t read anything specific about Dynamics GP, but a 90 day trial is available as part of the MSDN subscription which is a part of BizSpark. Dynamics CRM is definitely included. 

Naturally, this is a win for all – the start-ups can focus on investing in their core business in the initial years. Microsoft gets a possible customer when the start-up is a success.

I have put together my notes above, but Microsoft’s BizSpark website and Woot Studio do a much better job at explaining things, so check them out.  Also worth checking out is - BizSpark Program for Technology Startups: Software, Cloud and Developer Benefits.

Another plan worth investigating from  IBM is the Global Entrepreneur initiative. Here's a brief video. This initiative offers free software from IBM to assist nascent startups that focus on the industries covered in IBM's Smarter Planet program, including energy and utilities, health care, telecommunications, and government.

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