Attended an ISA/Microsoft BizSpark Event tonight at the IBEC offices. BizSpark for those of you living under a rock is the super cool new program for Startups from Microsoft.
The short story is if you are less than 3 years old and have less than 1m USD in revenues then you get all the good juice you need to build your application on a Microsoft Tech stack (i.e. Silverlight, Visual Studio, Expression Studio, SQL Server, SharePoint and BizTalk).
More importantly, the package includes runtime production licenses so you can deploy this stuff on a Windows platform provider (e.g Blacknight, Hosting365 or DigiWeb) for just about nothing. Once they get Windows Azure onto prime time you will also be able to host your application there.
They are also pushing the additional services associated with BizSpark that include support and promotion of your service. Engaging with the the Microsoft Emerging Business Team is this area is well worth while as 28 of the 41 acquisitions that Microsoft made last year were recommended by those guys (and girls).
To signup for BizSpark goto http://www.microsoft.com/BizSpark/. You will need to be endorsed my a Network partner, these are all listed when you subscribe for the Startup service. I recommend the Digital Media Forum myself. The signup page is still a little funky, but I’m sure MSFT will sort that out eventually.
Top tip for Microsoft, Get Django and Rails ported to SQLServer 2008 so that those frameworks work out of the box with SQLServer.
Also people desperately need to know what Azure pricing will be like before committing fully to the platform.
BizSpark is good for the Irish Startup Community and there is absolutely no downside to signing up so get on board for a pile of free software and support.