(Press Release – February 14, 2012) – SETsquared, the enterprise partnership of the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey, announced today that Microsoft is offering nearly £40,000 worth of cloud computing benefits for free through the Microsoft BizSpark Plus programme to select SETsquared-supported companies. As a BizSpark Plus Network Partner, SETsquared can extend this generous offer to their member companies, as well as subsequent high-value offers Microsoft will make available.
The Windows Azure offer provides $60,000 (USD) of free cloud hosting over two years. This will enable startups supported by the SETsquared Business Acceleration Centres to develop web-based services, or take advantage of cloud-based resources to meet intensive computing requirements.
BizSpark Plus is an extension of the Microsoft BizSpark program, designed to accelerate the success of startups around the world. BizSpark Plus works through select partners, incubators and accelerators such as SETsquared to provide added value products and services to high-potential startups.
“Microsoft supports entrepreneurs around the world, as they are crucial in driving economic growth,” said Cliff Reeves, a General Manager in Microsoft’s Strategic and Emerging Business Team. “By working with network partners such as SETsquared, we can help their startups get access to our best technology through the BizSpark Plus programme and join the vibrant BizSpark ecosystem of entrepreneurs and partner organizations advancing software-fueled entrepreneurship.”
“This free cloud service will be a great benefit for some of the companies we work with,” said Graham Harrison, Partnership Director of SETsquared. “Microsoft has chosen a select few organisations for this offer, and I’m delighted that they have recognised SETsquared’s role as a leader in the business incubation community.”
One of the companies supported by SETsquared that has already benefited from Microsoft’s cloud solutions is DocCom, which has created a secure networking platform for healthcare professionals and their organisations. While based at SETsquared’s Bristol Centre, DocCom originally used Microsoft’s Windows Azure platform as part of the BizSpark program.
“We needed a solution that would scale fast to cope with our predicted growth, would reliably run 24 hours a day, and would be accessible from any device anywhere – cloud computing enables us to achieve this,” said Dr. Jonathon Shaw, Director and Co-founder at DocCom. “Azure is the most advanced cloud computing platform out there, and has been a great choice for us – it offers clever technology, allows us to scale, and makes it easy to deploy and update apps.”
About the SETsquared Partnership
The SETsquared Partnership is the enterprise collaboration of the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey. Together, the universities employ 7,400 academic staff; earn nearly 10% of the UK’s higher education research budget; and produce 11% of all UK university patents.
The partnership has a 10-year track record of supporting companies through its business acceleration centres, which provide access to industry specialists, investors and experienced entrepreneurs. SETsquared currently supports over 250 early stage high-tech, high growth potential businesses, and 88% of its incubated companies are still in business three years on. In the past five years, nearly £0.75bn in investment funding has been raised by spin outs and incubated companies.
SETsquared supports student enterprise including an annual showcase and a global scholars program. It provides opportunities for industry to access academic ideas with commercial potential and seeks to promote the impact, economically and socially, of its institutions’ research and enterprise activities.