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Remember DreamSpark, the program for students in higher education to get access to the developer tools and platforms from Microsoft at no charge?  How about some love for individuals in startup organizations trying to create the next great innovation in technology as a service, an application, some Silverlight love perhaps :-)?


A new program has just launched for startups.  From the site it is described as:

Microsoft® BizSpark™ is a global program designed to help accelerate the success of early stage startups by providing key resources when they need it the most:

  • Software. Receive fast and easy access to current full-featured Microsoft development tools, platform technologies, and production licenses of server products for immediate use in developing and bringing to market innovative and interoperable solutions. There is no upfront cost to enroll.
  • Support. Get connected to Network Partners around the world — incubators, investors, advisors, government agencies and hosters — that are equally involved and vested in software-fueled innovation and entrepreneurship who will provide a wide range of support resources.
  • Visibility. Achieve global visibility to an audience of potential investors, clients and partners
    As a Microsoft BizSpark member, you’ll be tapping into a rich, vibrant ecosystem of peers, partners and support resources around the globe, helping you grow and succeed. Microsoft BizSpark is the quickest way to get your Startup fired up.

Source: http://www.microsoftstartupzone.com/BizSpark/Pages/At_a_Glance.aspx

So what do you get as benefits in the program?

    • All the software included in the Microsoft® Visual Studio® Team System Team Suite (VSTS) with MSDN® Premium subscription
    • Expression® Studio Version 2
    • VSTS Team Foundation Server (standard edition)
    • Production use rights to host a “software as a service” solution (developed during participation in the BizSpark Program, on any platform) over the Internet, with regard to products including:
      • Microsoft Windows Server® (all versions up to and including Enterprise)
      • Microsoft SQL Server® (all versions)
      • Microsoft Office SharePoint® Portal Server
      • Microsoft System Center
      • Microsoft BizTalk® Server

There are key requirements for qualifying, so be sure to read about them.

To qualify for BizSpark, your startup must be:

  • Actively engaged in development of a software-based product or service that will form a core piece of its current or intended business[1],
  • Privately held,
  • In business for less than 3 years[2], and
  • Generating less than USD $1 million in annual revenue[3].

To be eligible to use the software for production and deployment of hosted solutions, startups must also be developing a new "software as a service" solution (on any platform) to be delivered over the Internet. Source: http://www.microsoftstartupzone.com/BizSpark/Pages/Do_I_Qualify.aspx

You can read all about the program details on the BizSpark information site.  So if you are a startup and looking to accelerate, take a look at this program.  It looks like the BizSpark team is also creating BizSparkDB, a center for startups to be profiled and visible.

What are you waiting for?  See if you qualify and then enroll!

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bill gates announces on channel8 a program called '' which is enabling students of higher education to obtain microsoft developer and designer tools for no charge!

over at the channel8 downloads page you'll see what is available: visual studio professional, expression studio, windows server 2003 standard, and xna game studio.  wow.  for now this is available in United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, China, Germany, France, Finland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Belgium.  the program looks to bring more countries on in the future so check back.

there is a student verification process that you have to go through and some of the frequently asked questions are available on the DreamSpark FAQ

what a great way to enable our future technologists to develop great software using great tools!