Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub
I have long been passionate about the startup community. Having co-founded several for-profit and non-profit endeavors, I consider myself a serial entrepreneur. In addition to my own entrepreneurial pursuits, participation in the startup community has continued to inform and energize me in other roles. Startups possess the unique ability to push the entire ecosystem forward. Yet, the harsh reality is that the entrepreneurial journey is rife with hurdles and uncertainties, with over 90% of startups tragically disappearing within their first year.
Launching an entrepreneurial hub
With the insights derived from thousands of entrepreneurs globally, across a plethora of backgrounds, Microsoft for Startups has launched the Founders Hub. Announced by Microsoft President of Commerce + Ecosystems, Charlotte Yarkoni, in March of this year, this groundbreaking platform is intended to reshape the startup landscape by tackling the most prevalent challenges entrepreneurs face. Pert his announcement, Founders Hub is centered around three key areas:
- Unlocking innovation for all: The platform eliminates traditional barriers founders face when getting started, such as venture capital requirements or third-party validation to help any founder regardless of background, location or access be successful.
- Technology benefits that grow: Keeping pace with a startup’s lifecycle, the platform helps founders speed development with free access to GitHub and the Microsoft Cloud with the ability to unlock additional benefits over time. To address the unique needs of startups, we are also partnering with innovative companies like OpenAI, a global leader in AI research and deployment, that develops AI systems such as GPT-3 and Codex to provide startups with exclusive benefits and discounts.
- Access to mentorship and guidance: Becoming a founder is no longer about “who you know.” Through the platform, startups can connect with industry veterans, access tailored startup-centric training and innovate quickly with expert technical guidance.
Benefits of joining
Envisioning a universally accessible startup ecosystem, Founders Hub is committed to supporting entrepreneurial journeys from ideation to fruition. Unique within the industry, Microsoft’s new platform eliminates the prerequisite of being “investor-backed” for startups to enroll and leverage the myriad benefits offered. The startup journey is inherently unpredictable and success is uncertain. Microsoft will work with startups as they gradually grow their businesses, providing Azure credits worth up to $150,000 and more as their usage expands, with free access to more than $100k in development and productivity tools, including GitHub and Microsoft 365.
On top of all that, Microsoft is partnering with OpenAI to provide founders with exclusive access to $1,000 of credits, three free months of an OpenAI API Innovation License, and free consultation with an OpenAI expert.
Access to experts and RDs
Accomplished entrepreneurs often highlight the pivotal role of guidance and mentorship in reaching their subsequent objectives. Looking back at my startup history, I am grateful to the professors, adjunct faculty, and various industry veterans who provided mentoring to my own startups and non-profits. With that in mind, the Founders Hub will also server as a mentoring platform, connecting founders with seasoned industry experts and providing a pathway to startup-specific training and technical assistance, including access to Microsoft Learn.
Having participated in the first two waves of the mentorship program in partnership with the Microsoft Regional Director program, I’m excited to see this program included within the broader Founders Hub initiative and look forward to continuing to work with Microsoft and startup executive teams. I’ve worked with about a dozen companies within this program over the past 18 months, and have been part of the RD Advisory Board helping to shape the program going forward.
Whether you are a startup founder looking to create or strengthen your connections in the Microsoft ecosystem, or a solo entrepreneur with an idea and a dream, the Founders Hub may be able to help you move your ideas forward. Sign up for the program at startups.Microsoft.com