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It was pure coincidence that 30th January was both the launch of  BizSpark Plus and a Microsoft event for European government representatives in Brussels.  But the timing was very relevant, because the  topic of the event was ‘Fuelling the European Economy', including how we can help small businesses to make the most of cloud computing.

That is exactly what BizSpark Plus is all about  - $60,000 of Azure (around 45,000 at the current exchange rate).  And here in the Western European team, we are very excited about how BizSpark Plus is going to help the ICT startup community.

So what will it mean in practical terms?  To answer that, I’d like to quote Hendrik van Iterson, CTO and co-founder of Atomblock, who was one of the guest speakers at the Brussels event and (another coincidence) one of the startups involved in the first phase of BizSpark Plus.  This Dutch company has pioneered a cloud-based distribution model for video games and other digital content.  In a pretty short space of time, Atomblock has extended its customer base across Europe, the Nordic region, Turkey and Brazil.

“BizSpark Plus gives us great flexibility.  We can’t predict how quickly or how much we will use, because we can’t predict how fast we will scale.  But it is going to make a big contribution: it means we can continue with our fast-paced global expansion plans.  Being in the cloud makes it easier to expand your business globally anyway, but BizSpark Plus gives us an extra boost at an important time in our company evolution.”

We’ve announced BizSpark Plus Partners in 12 countries across Europe so far:

Aalto Center for Entrepreneurship (Finland)
Barcelona Activa (Spain)
DPixel (Italy)
Forskningsparken (Norway)
I3P (Italy)
IFJ Institut für Jungunternehmen (Switzerland)
IPN Incubadora (Portugal)
MIC Network (Spain)
NDRC Launchpad (Ireland
Rockstart (Netherlands)
StartupBusiness (Italy)
Startupbootcamp (Amsterdam)
Startupbootcamp (Denmark)
Startup City Århus (Denmark)
UPTEC (Portugal)
Wayra (Spain)

These European partners, with their valuable local knowledge and networks, join host of other partners worldwide who are part of this early phase of BizSpark Plus.  And this is an important point:  this is just the start.  As it grows, I look forward to telling you more about BizSpark Plus and how it is giving European start-ups a very real helping-hand.