Microsoft signs up NGen to BizSpark
MICROSOFT has revealed Dublin-based NGen as a new investment partner, with a budget of about half-a-million euro to inject into Irish innovation.
NGen Ireland, meaning next generation, is the latest partner in the BizSpark Plus program, a Microsoft initiative designed to help startups build their computing resources.
Each company that qualifies for the program will get a Windows Azure package worth about €46,000 plus other premium software and services, and a chance to develop a relationship with one of the world’s largest technology companies.
Co founder of NGen Neil Sands said: “On the back of the Web Summit, we are seeing a lot of young Irish companies rising up. Some have not yet come to the fore and they need support to get them over the first hump, and Microsoft is in the best position to do that.
“This will give them access to software and support from Microsoft and it also exposes them to the market which is really valuable and accelerates progress.”
Ten companies will be selected by NGen, who are now seeking suitable candidates via ngenireland.com.
Head of Partnerships at Microsoft Claire Lee said NGen was chosen because of its focus on promoting the hard work of up-and-coming entrepreneurs and innovators throughout Ireland.
“NGen aligns well with our focus on youth empowerment, youth employment and youth entrepreneurship,” she said.
“I also think it’s very good to celebrate entrepreneurship. You go to all these parts of the world where tech entrepreneurs have been celebrated, but in Dublin it’s almost a new phenomenon. People are now saying, ‘wow, we have such indigenous innovation and indigenous entrepreneurship and people capable of creating an idea and taking it to market and competing on a global stage’.
“Often we recognise people when they’re rich and famous, but that’s wrong. You really have to celebrate the fact that people are out there trying and taking a risk. So that’s one of the reasons we have been happy to work with NGen.”
There are currently 650 Irish companies affiliated to the BizSpark programme, including Jampot, a company that allows computer illiterates to develop their own apps.
Lee said she hopes other companies will get on board when they hear about the BizSpark Plus offer.
“We expect to attract some companies that none of us knows about, that are under the radar or in stealth mode. We’re still interested in those. We’re looking to discover great innovation that meets the criteria. We want to reward those people.”
Companies have already begun applying for the program, which will be administered solely by NGen Ireland.