La Trobe joins 'BizSpark' program

La Trobe joins 'BizSpark' program

18 Nov 2008

La Trobe University has joined Microsoft as a ‘Network Partner’ in its new global ‘BizSpark’ program to help young entrepreneurs succeed in setting up information technology start-up firms.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Tim Brown

Professor Brown: contribution to Australia’s economic growth

The program provides access to expert information  and professional support services for three years, through Microsoft and its  range of partners. It offers Microsoft development tools, mentorship, product  licenses, technical assistance and market visibility.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Tim  Brown, said La Trobe University's partnership with Microsoft advances the  career prospects of students and graduates. 'It increases research and  innovation opportunities and provides the University with greater global  visibility.'

He said start-up companies generated employment and  contributed to Australia's  economic growth. Some of these companies will become the business leaders of  tomorrow.

Director of the Centre for Technology Infusion,  Professor Jugdutt (Jack) Singh, said nine start-up companies signed up with the  University in the first week.  'La Trobe  and Microsoft have a successful history of working together, nurturing  start-ups and helping put them on the road to success.'

'Our links with Microsoft give our students and  researchers opportunity to engage with companies and other partners within Australia and  worldwide. The BizSpark program is a very welcome addition, providing the  support and promotion needed to bring new ideas to life.'

The program is available to private firms under  three years old with less than US $1 million in revenue.  As money is usually tight for most start-ups,  the program's fee of US $100 is paid on exit, and not when they join.

Microsoft says BizSpark is supported by hundreds of  organisations such as economic development agencies, university incubators, web  hosting services and investors. Other Australian partners include the  Australian Information Industry Association, the Victorian Government,  Technology Venture Partners, Starfish Ventures, iLab Incubators and AC&E  International.

Launching the program in Sydney last week, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer  said entrepreneurs played a vital role in driving innovation and creating new  jobs for economic growth.

'Microsoft BizSpark is an exciting way for us to  help provide business start-ups with the development tools, advice and exposure  they need. We look forward to working with organisations and development  agencies around the globe to foster entrepreneurship and help new companies  succeed.'

For further information, please contact Professor Jack Singh, tel: 03 9479 3382 or email: jack.singh@latrobe.edu.au

For  an example of the type of IT business being 'incubated' at La Trobe, see 'Tool for smarter living showcased at global "cleantech" expo.'

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