Following on a year later from the launch of BizSpark – a programme for early-stage start-up companies – Microsoft has added another member to the Spark family: WebsiteSpark, which is aimed at web designers and developers.
The aim of the WebsiteSpark programme is to create a partner network for web development and design companies, with up to 10 employees and owners, providing them with Microsoft software, services, advice and support, as well as promoting partners’ services.
It will connect web professionals and hosts with an ecosystem of customers, partners and other professionals with related technologies and services.
Launching in Ireland next Tuesday, 20 October, at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, WebsiteSpark’s first member, a:m web, has already taken advantage of its free production licences and is hosting websites with WebsiteSpark partner C Infinity.
“C Infinity identified us as a candidate for WebsiteSpark and had us up and running in minutes. It means we get exposed to the latest and most relevant Microsoft products, and have a platform on which to host the sites we build with them and it saves us lots of money,” said Cormac Smyth, of a:m web.
WebsiteSpark’s effect on web design and development firms
Aidan Finn of C Infinity said he anticipates WebsiteSpark will have a huge impact on small web design and development companies here in Ireland, equipping them with tools in a competitive market.
“Developers are the lifeblood of our business, and we are wholly committed to ensuring their success,” said Clare Dillon, head of Microsoft Ireland’s Developer and Platform Group.
“WebsiteSpark makes Microsoft’s web-development tools and support more accessible to developers and designers at small companies as they create inventive applications for the web. Our third Spark programme, WebsiteSpark, furthers our commitment to ignite innovation and enable IT businesses among key communities and individuals.
The launch event, which can be registered for here and is in association with TechLudd, will include a presentation by Cliff Reeves, who is on the emerging business team at Microsoft HQ in Redmond, Washington, and works with start-up companies and VCs in this respect. He will be talking about how WebsiteSpark plans to build on the previous success of BizSpark, and how it can present economic opportunities to Irish start-ups.
What’s on offer
Microsoft WebsiteSpark has a once-off programme offering fee, payable at exit, and once approved companies have access to:
- Microsoft Web design and development tools, including three licences of Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition, two licences of Microsoft Expression Web 3, and one licence of Microsoft Expression Studio 3.
- Two production licences to Microsoft Windows Web Server 2008 or R2 (when available) and two production licences to Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Web Edition.
- A third-party premium website control panel (DotNetPanel).
Participating companies will also receive the following professional support and training:
- Two technical support incidents per company.
- Access to community support through connections with network partners, hosting partners and peers with complementary services and technologies.
- Unlimited access to technical managed newsgroups on MSDN.
- Unlimited programme support for non-technical issues.
By Marie Boran
Photo: The WebsiteSpark homepage.