Microsoft BizSpark To Accelerate Success of Malaysian Start-up Companies

Kuala Lumpur, November 6, 2008 – Microsoft Malaysia today announced the launch of the Microsoft BizSpark program, a quality initiative designed to accelerate the success of local Malaysian technopreneurs and early stage start-ups through software support and a vibrant ecosystem that delivers superior business advantage.

According to Yasmin Mahmood, Managing Director, Microsoft Malaysia, the broad mandate of Microsoft BizSpark is to encourage innovation, creativity and nurture entrepreneurialism amongst today’s most promising start-ups by providing access to software, tools and resources at a stage where they need it most but can least afford it, ensuring their passage to becoming tomorrow’s most successful businesses.

The BizSpark program is centred on three key pillars, which also outline the resulting benefits for each participating start-up:
Get Software
Start-ups will receive fast and easy access to Microsoft’s current full-featured development tools, platform technologies, and production licenses of server products for immediate use in developing and bringing to market innovative and interoperable solutions with no upfront costs and minimal requirements.
Get Support
Start-ups will receive professional support from Microsoft and the BizSpark Network Partners locally and around the world who provide a wide range of support resources for software start-ups. Network Partners are incubators, investors, advisors, government agencies and hosters who are vested in software-fueled innovation and entrepreneurship.
Get Visibility
A dedicated Website, the BizSparkDB, will highlight promising companies from around the world every day. Through their relationship with Microsoft and the BizSpark Network Partners, start-ups will receive global visibility to an audience of potential investors, clients and partners.
Yasmin continued that BizSpark is designed recognizing that start-ups are the business and technology leaders of tomorrow, maintaining that Microsoft has always viewed the development of the local software economy of great importance to the industry and to Malaysia, hence the company’s RM300 million commitment and investment in the industry’s future over the next three years.

She said, “We’re helping local start-ups realize their potential and experience the opportunities made possible through technology. Through this program, start-ups and technopreneurs will have access to RM625,000 worth of world class tools, technologies and market resources to help bring new ideas, new companies and new software innovation to life.

“BizSpark is also a result-oriented initiative. Already we have 10 start-ups signed-on to form the pioneer batch and we target 500 companies to be equipped over the next three years. And from our estimates, based on the success of our other programs, these companies will create some 5000 new jobs in Malaysia, and will generate an additional RM1 billion for the local software economy.”

Partners See Potential and Announce Support for BizSpark
As a key part of driving this growth and development, BizSpark is backed by a local and global community of resources committed to helping each start-up achieve success. Eleven industry stakeholders, including the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) and the Association of the Computer and Multimedia Industry Malaysia (PIKOM) today signed-on as Network Partners in support of BizSpark and its mandate to fire-up and fuel the growth of start-ups in the country. (Please see attached document for full list of Network Partners and quotes.)

“BizSpark is one of the first initiatives that has managed to pull together such a widespread industry alliance, involving the strategic and relevant agencies who are vested in software-fueled innovation and entrepreneurship thereby providing a powerful global partner ecosystem to support start-up success. MDeC’s involvement as a network partner, will help us focus on accelerating the growth and capacity building of local start-ups, fueling our vision towards a k-economy and lending global recognition of MSC Malaysia’s efforts and success in capability development,” said Saifol Shamlan, Vice President of ICT industry caretaker MDeC, while witnessing the signing ceremony.

Also present as witness and network partner, David Wong, Chairman of PIKOM, resounded the statement, “As an association that continually seeks to improve the business climate and promote industry growth, we believe our members will reap the benefits of this BizSpark intiative – a global community of peers, entrepreneurial resources and experts who understand and can help address the unique technical and business development challenges that start-ups face. In short, start-ups will have every resource available to them from idea conception right up to marketing and selling their products.”

BizSpark Pioneers Capitalize on Opportunity
To mark the launch and reflecting the great potential of this program, the event saw the first ten local start-up companies announce their participation in this initiative. Advanced Real Time Systems Sdn Bhd (ARTS), Aeflex Technologies, Byte One Technology Sdn. Bhd, FonPackets, Objective World Sdn Bhd, Petraware Solutions Sdn Bhd, Softphix Technology Sdn Bhd, Teknologi Sistem Merpati, Urekalabs Sdn Bhd and Wise Aviation Sdn Bhd were each given an award for their initiative and enthusiasm to form the pioneer batch of the BizSpark program.

In her closing statement, Yasmin cited the importance of lending a helping hand when it is needed most, “During times of economic stress, it’s even more important that start-ups have the technology and market resource support they need to succeed and we believe the combination of technology and partner support provided by BizSpark is the right formula needed to put young companies on the road to success.”

Microsoft BizSpark Availability
According to Microsoft Malaysia’s Senior Lead for Software Innovation Initiatives, Peter Tam, “Microsoft BizSpark is a three-year program made available for technopreneurs and start-ups that have formed private companies developing software-based products or services and have been in business for less than three years with an annual revenue of less that USD$0.5 million or RM1.75 million.”

“Through BizSpark, start-ups will be given a Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) Premium three-year subscription, giving them access to download a broad set of design and development tools needed to build, test and maintain an application on the Microsoft platform, as well as professional support services and expert information resources. For start-ups building hosted software, BizSpark includes 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 added soon. The program will also provide a worldwide network of hosting partners, offering discounted hosting services to start-ups wishing to take their business or product online using their BizSpark licenses. Finally, start-ups will have the opportunity be profiled and promoted on the BizSparkDB, an online start-up directory, where Microsoft will promote promising start-ups from around the world every day,” Tam concluded.

Start-ups can find out more about Microsoft BizSpark at Microsoft’s “Get Your Start-up Fired Up!” hosted events in Kuala Lumpur (November 19) and Penang (November 29). To register and learn more, please visit: http://www.microsoft.com/malaysia/events/bizspark.

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