It’s safe to say that Sri Lanka today is nurturing start-ups – everything from the Yarl Geek Challenge to ICTA’s Spiralation points in that direction. It appears the situation is improving with each passing day. In fact, just recently Disrupt Unlimited, the Brandix led startup accelerator, partnered with Microsoft’s BizSpark initiative.
For those of you who don’t know: Disrupt Unlimited is a seed accelerator that seeks to inspire, mentor and fund start-ups with breakthrough, technology-driven solutions to disrupt products, practices, processes and business models in the apparel, textile and accessories sectors.
Microsoft BizSpark, on the other hand is a global program (it’s Microsoft) that helps software start-ups succeed by giving them access to Microsoft software development tools. It also focuses on connecting them with key industry players including investors, and providing marketing visibility to help entrepreneurs starting a business.
So what exactly do start-ups in the Disrupt Unlimited program get out of this partnership? Well for starters, THREE years of free access AND training for various Microsoft licensed software. It also offers start-ups the opportunity to publish and market their apps and free access to the Windows Store. And a whole lot networking opportunities with key investors.
Yes one can indeed argue that this is a Microsoft attempt at marketing and increasing the number of apps in the Windows Store. That’s true. However one can also argue that this is marketing done right. Just look at how much a simple Microsoft license costs and you can see how this is a major win for a start-up – after all, despite the rise of Macbooks and open source tools, most computers here in Sri Lanka still run on pirated Windows, which you really don’t want to do if you run a business.
Udena Wickremesooriya, Director of Disrupt Unlimited commented on this partnership, saying, “BizSpark connects more than 100,000 start-ups and over 1,500 start-up organisations. We are therefore delighted to promote BizSpark to the start-ups in our programme, because the value of its benefits and global perspective are immeasurable.”