The Microsoft BizSpark program has expanded in Singapore, offering two new features to the country's startup community.
The computer giant said that the expansion includes the launch of BizSpark Residency, a program that houses startups, and BizSpark Plus, which will provide SG$162,000 worth of Azure cloud services credit annually to qualifying startups.
"Microsoft is committed to growing the local startup ecosystem by providing the latest technological tools, support, and market visibility to help them succeed," director for developer experience and evangelism at Microsoft Singapore Nobuhiro Ito said.
"Since the launch of Microsoft BizSpark, we have worked with close to 1,300 startups in Singapore, and some of them have gone on to impact the world with their innovations. With the expanded BizSpark program, we now have a much-improved platform and support system to help more local startups scale their businesses quickly."
Those who qualify for the BizSpark Plus feature will receive SG$13,500 worth of Azure credits every month for 12 months, which the startup can spend on any facet within the cloud service.
Those utilising the BizSpark Residency program will see their startups housed at One Marina Boulevard, the local Microsoft Innovation Centre, obtaining 1,200 square feet of work space and being immersed into "an environment that fosters innovation", with access to Microsoft's technical professionals for business guidance.
"Through this, we hope to help grow the entrepreneurial spirit in Singapore and foster a culture of innovation to unleash future innovators who can change the world with their creations," Ito said.
Microsoft said that three local startups -- Kumo Pte, Grezzy, and Apvera -- will be the first to go through the program operating out of the innovation centre.
BizSpark was launched in Singapore in 2008, with Microsoft's APAC software industry development manager Kirk Drage telling ZDNet back in 2011 that the motivation behind launching the service was that aspiring entrepreneurs in the region lacked the links to the right resources and partners.
"We're not trying to play the role of the venture capitalist, but the role of providing the software, support, and visibility to enable startups to succeed," Drage said at the time.