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Microsoft BizSpark Plus offers $120k Azure credits to startups, partners with Sw7

Tech companies dominate the startup scene, but it’s often difficult to get these businesses off the ground. Starting 1 July, Microsoft’s BizSpark Plus platform, in partnership with top global accelerators, will offer Azure credit to select businesses. This new partnership will give select startups US$120 000 Azure Cloud Credits in order to cultivate their business ideas. The partnership is in conjunction with 150 startup accelerators in 47 countries around the world. Sw7 will be representing the African-arm of the BizSpark Plus program.

Odette Jones, Sw7 co-founder, is excited about the announcement:”This is a very exciting endorsement for what we have been doing with Sw7 in the region.”

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The BizSpark Plus programme has been created just for startups. Besides the potential Azure credit offer, the service also provides free software & tools, support, and training courses. The aim of this programme is to help tech startups build and scale faster. It’s a move from Microsoft that should see it secure more customers in the long run. The programme already has over 100 000 startups.

Keith Jones, Sw7 coFounder, says the opportunity is due to BizSpark’s South African team:

This is a great endorsement and mainly down to the activities of the Bizspark South Africa team. They have made a significant impact on the African eco-system in the last two years, their efforts are probably the single largest contribution we have seen to the tech startup community in Africa.

Microsoft Azure — formerly Windows Azure — is a cloud-based computer system. The platform allows for the creation and launch of virtual machines, applications, and data storage on Microsoft’s servers. It also supports a wide range of software systems and languages, such as uBuntu, PHP, and Java. Due to this system running on Microsoft’s servers, users won’t need to worry about backups and site recovery. The servers handle most of the nitty gritty allowing users to concentrate on developing their projects. It’s a stress-free system startups need.

Azure also offers Machine Learning, a system in which to “future proof” applications, media services to create powerful audio and video content and analytics.

In order to qualify for the credits, startups will need to be in operation for less than five years, be privately held, and have an annual revenue of less than US$1-million. It’s not specified if the criteria will differ from region to region.

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