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Microsoft offers Filipino MSMEs a head start

Jenalyn Rubio | Feb. 10, 2009
Dubbed BizSpark, the project offers start-ups with a three-year Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) premium subscription.

MANILA, 9 FEBRUARY 2009 - Microsoft Philippines recently announced a programme in partnership with the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) aimed to give local micro- and small-to-mid-sized enterprises (MSMEs) a much-needed push toward success.

Dubbed BizSpark, the project offers start-ups with a three-year Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) premium subscription, giving them access to design and development tools needed to build, test, and maintain an application in the Microsoft platform, along with professional support services, and market visibility. BizSpark participants may also leverage support from a network of hundreds of organizations such as economic development agencies, university incubators, and investors.

For startups building hosted software, BizSpark provides production licenses for the application and management servers including Windows Server, SQL Server, SharePoint Portal Server, BizTalk Server and Systems Center,with Dynamics CRM to be included soon. The programme will also provide a worldwide network of hosting partners, offering discounted hosting services to start-ups to take their business or product online using BizSpark licenses.

"Every business organization goes through a similar beginning. To grow, they must have the right tools, direction,and exposure," said Jay Joson, developer platform evangelist directorat Microsoft Philippines. According to him, any private company that has been in business for less than three years, with less than US$1 million dollars in revenue and which is building a software-based product or service is welcome to participate in this programme. A fee of$100 shall be paid by the company upon completion of the three-year programme, but only if the startup succeeds in growing its business, said Joson.

CICT, with its role as facilitator of this project, has tasked the National ICT Conference of the Philippines (NICP) to look for and verify qualified beneficiaries in the regions, particularly looking at the next-wave cities that the Commission has announced last year together with the Business Processing Association of the Philippines (BPA/P).

"This is the perfect timing, especially given the ongoing economic crisis, to start something that can create new business and therefore generate new employment. This will be very good for small towns and cities because not all of them may be good for voice-based services so such non-voice services like software development may be just the right business model for them," said George Sorio, NICP's national chair.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Software Industry Association (PSIA) welcomes the initiative. PSIA president, Beng Coronel, said the initiative aligns with the association's programmes, especially in terms of capability building. "A large number of our member companies still fall under the SME or even the micro-level, so we want to push them to go up to the next level," she said.


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