Microsoft lends a helping hand to start-ups

Queensland’s start-ups will receive a helping hand by the newly launched Queensland Microsoft Innovation Centre.

The centre in Brisbane will support start-ups, as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurial students, to use Queensland-based software systems, focusing on skills, business development and industry relationships.

Sharon Schoenborn, state director – Queensland, the NT and Pacific Islands, Microsoft Australia, said in a statement that the centre “will help bridge some of the current gaps for start-ups in their journey to success by equipping and inspiring them to innovate”.

The centre will facilitate the transfer of ideas amongst its users to help grow the start-up sector, independent software vendors and entrepreneurs.

The idea was initially floated in May last year when an opportunity arose for Microsoft to work with the Queensland government to create IT employment opportunities.

“The project will align with our BizSpark Program here in Australia and feature as the home of the Queensland hub of the BizSpark program,” Schoenborn told Computerworld Australia.

Microsoft plans to help with up to 100 start-up companies over three years at the centre.

The centre will also leverage the National Broadband Network (NBN) in regional areas of Queensland.

“The NBN will contribute to overcoming some of the tyranny of distance that exists in rural and regional Australia and bring benefit to existing and new start-ups in regional Queensland,” Schoenborn said.

“We are working in partnership with each of these programs and organisations to drive our Queensland Microsoft Innovation Centre and the events we run as a collaborative network which seeks to accelerate the growth of the local software economy in Queensland. The NBN is a key enabler of this.”

As part of Microsoft’s ecosystem, the company will be partnering with the University of Queensland’s IdeaNetwork and Queensland University of Technology’s Innovation Space and Innovation Bay and the Silicon Beach and Lean Start-Up groups in Brisbane.

“Initially, we plan to hold a range of activities that reaches a broad spectrum of emerging businesses, student entrepreneurs and start-ups,” Schoenborn said.

“However, as we move ahead, we intend to transform these activities into long-term programs that focus more specifically on developing and accelerating more focused groups of Queensland’s emerging businesses and start-ups.”

Follow Stephanie McDonald on Twitter: @stephmcdonald0

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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