Microsoft BizSpark hopes to spark local IT startups

By DAVID DIZON/abs-cbnNEWS.com

Posted at Jan 29 2009 06:51 PM | Updated as of Jan 30 2009 02:51 AM

Microsoft Philippines on Thursday launched a new partnership program that allows local technology startups to use full-featured Microsoft development tools and production licenses with no upfront costs and very minimal requirements.

The Microsoft BizSpark is designed to provide technical support to partner companies as well as give them the opportunity to tap a global market through BizsparkDB, an online startup directory that is accessed by venture capitalists around the world.

Jay Joson, Microsoft Philippines developer platform evangelism director, said a US-based study reveals that Microsoft BizSpark could create up to 3,000 jobs for the local startup community.

"It’s a ballpark figure. This is a US based study so it can vary in the Philippine implementation especially considering that labor here is much cheaper. In the study, an average startup could have 20 employees. We are currently targeting at least 80 startups per year in the program and will be increasing the target every year. If we have a success rate of 50 percent, we could get at least 300 startups by the end of three years. Even if we get only 150 at 20 employees each, that's 3,000 jobs," he told reporters in a forum in Makati City.

Beng Coronel, president of the Philippine Software Industry Association, said the impact of Microsoft BizSpark would be significant to technology startups in the country.

"Based on a previous study on SMEs [small and medium enterprises], there are about 380 software companies in the Philippines and it's growing every month. If you look at the global market, your platform should match the market that you are serving. If you are targeting a specific market that is focused on Microsoft, or has a platform that runs on Microsoft, that necessarily dictates the type of platform that you are using," she said.

National ICT Conference of the Philippines Chairman George Sorio said the BizSpark program also helps tech startups in the provinces who do not normally have access to technical support. He said the program is especially useful to companies venturing into non-voice outsourcing such as engineering, animation, and software development.

Joson said the BizSpark program will be made available to locally-registered companies and individuals building a software-based product or service who have been in business less than three years and have less than $1 million in revenue.

CICT partnership

Under the BizSpark program, startup companies are given a three-year Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) Premium subscription that provides production licenses for application and management servers including Windows Server, SQL Server, SharePoint Portal Server, Biztalk Server and Systems Center.

The program will also provide a worldwide network of hosting partners, offering discounted hosting services to startups to take their business or product online using BizSpark licenses. 

In addition to the core BizSpark offering, startups are uniquely positioned to benefit from broadly available offerings, such as:

  • The Microsoft Web Platform Installer and Web Application Installer, which make it easier for developers to bring compelling PHP and .NET Web applications to market faster with streamlined design and development integration and PHP coding assistance. 
  • Microsoft cloud services technologies, including:
  • Enhanced access to Live Platform Services, a collection of developer interfaces that provides access to Live Services such as Live ID, and Live Mesh, storage, and the underlying platform (including virtualized execution, and access to data) that underpins them.
  • Limited access, based on eligibility requirements, to the Community Technical Preview (CTP) of the Azure Services Platform, a new computing platform that will help developers build the next generation of applications that will span from the cloud to the enterprise datacenter and deliver compelling new experiences across the PC, Web and phone. The Azure Services Platform was announced last month at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference 2008 (PDC2008).


Startups who register for the BizSpark program will pay a $100 fee (about P4,900) only at the completion of the three-year program.

Joson said the Commission on Information and Communications Technology will be in charge of verifying applications from startups interested in the program. Other partners of the BizSpark program are the National ICT Conference of the Philippines, Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA) and Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPAP).

Interested companies can learn more about BizSpark and other startup resources at www.microsoftstartupzone.com.

Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) Chairman Ray Anthony Roxas-Chua III said the launch of the Microsoft BizSpark comes at an opportune time as local tech startups try to gain a foothold in the software developer market in the face of the global economic crisis.

"It gives local SMEs the opportunity to reach their goals to develop applications by providing technical support and enhancing global visibility," Chua said.