Microsoft has introduced a new program for early stage startups called BizSpark. The goal of the program is to help get broke starups the tools they need to develop and deploy their software.
There are a few requirements to enroll in the program: Your startup has to be younger than 3 years old, make less than $1 million per year in revenue, be web-based, and you must be enrolled by a network partner.
For an early stage startup with little cash, this is a great way to get full access to Microsoft development tools and server software. You can even use things like SQL Server in your hosted, production environment under the program, which goes a long way if you use their database.
I found a local network provider to give me enrollment access and I’m really impressed with how much software is available. It’s no joke. You pretty much get everything Microsoft offers for free. So, if you’re like me and you use the Microsoft .Net platform for your startup (even if you don’t), check out BizSpark to help you get off the ground.