Entrepreneurs who are not in a structured environment, nor an incubator, need not go it alone.
Microsoft launched the BizSpark program, in 2009, as a support network for entrepreneurs who develop software. Today, more than 30-thousand startups have graduated from the program, and more than 50-thousand startups are currently members.
“We have startup evangelists and technologists that hold office hours to, actually, connect one-on-one with startups, ” says Sonali Mane, a tech evangelist. “So there is more of an on-depth engagement that we have in place.”
The program is structured for entrepreneurs who develop software. Mane says the assistance is offered through a programatic perspective where Microsoft provides technology resources and support to the network partners. The program nurtures companies specifically in certain cities, such as Silicon Valley, central and the East Coast.
She talks about the three criteria that startups must meet in order to be considered for the program. Those selected are not only given software resources, but access to a vast network of colleagues and mentors.
“It’s a huge community we’re able to promote the startup, give them a voice, and give them a platform there they can talk about their company, their experiences.”
[Photo of Sonali Mane by Rose Tibayan. © Blackline Review.]