Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub was recently launched in Sri Lanka to empower local startup founders to turn their ideas into reality and help boost the economy.
The Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub is designed to remove traditional barriers to building a company and help founders innovate and grow, regardless of their background, location, progress, or passions. Budding startups in Sri Lanka can now gain access to technology, expertise, and software benefits, which includes access to proprietary technology tools such as Azure credits, Microsoft 365, GitHub Enterprise, Visual Studio Enterprise, Power BI Pro, Power Platform Power Automate and more.
Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub is centered around three key areas:
Unlocking innovation for all: The platform eliminates traditional barriers founders face when getting started, such as venture capital requirements or third-party validation to help any founder regardless of background, location or access be successful.
Technology benefits that grow: Keeping pace with a startup’s lifecycle, the platform helps founders speed development with free access to GitHub Enterprise and the Microsoft Azure with the ability to unlock additional benefits over time. To address the unique needs of startups, Microsoft has partnered with innovative companies like OpenAI, a global leader in AI research and deployment, that develops AI systems such as GPT-3 and Codex to provide startups with exclusive benefits and discounts.
Access to mentorship and guidance: Becoming a founder is no longer about “who you know.” Through the platform, startups can connect with industry veterans, access tailored startup-centric training and innovate quickly with expert technical guidance.
Sook Hoon Cheah – General Manager, Southeast Asia New Markets at Microsoft delivered the keynote at the launch event, held on the 27th of October 2022 at the Kingsbury Hotel Colombo, under the theme “‘Made in Asia’ to ‘Born in Asia’” to showcase the potential of the ambitious startup ecosystem in Sri Lanka to reach global heights with the power of Microsoft technology.
During her keynote she said, “Asia is expected to generate half of the world’s GDP by 2050 and account for more than half of all R&D investments by 2030. ‘Made in Asia’ exports are being overtaken by high value ‘Born in Asia’ creativity, originality, and innovation that promises to shape the rest of the 21st century. With the power of Azure, startups are able to do more with less across their entire lifecycle. We see massive potential to be unlocked in Sri Lanka and the role they play in reviving the country’s economy.”
The event also included a panel discussion which represented key personalities of the startup ecosystem including founders, incubators, accelerators, and policy maker/governance body ICTA. These panelists shared their learnings and expertise about the startup landscape in Sri Lanka including the challenges commonly faced and solutions to overcome them. Moderated by Chinthaka Dunuwille, SMB Lead for Sri Lanka & Maldives at Microsoft, the panel featured Sachindra Samararatne – Associate Chief Digital Economy Officer at ICTA, Jeevan Gnanam – Co-Founder of Hatch Sri Lanka, Jiffry Zulfer – Founder & CEO of PickMe (Digital Mobility Solutions Lanka (PVT) Ltd) and Viranga Kekulawala – Founder and CEO of EIMSKY Business Solutions Pvt Ltd.
Matthew Hardman – Chief Technology Officer for Global Partner Solutions in APAC and Suwani Senani – Cloud Solution Architect at Microsoft jointly presented a tech session for the audience on “Build with Azure” which demonstrated tools, technologies and features for startups to build with Azure cloud.
“In spite of a very challenging economic landscape, investment towards the local startup ecosystem of Sri Lanka grew at 13% in 2021. With the launch of Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub in Sri Lanka, we are enabling incubation at scale for local startups to fuel the economy and take innovation from Sri Lanka to the world stage,” said Harsha Randeny – Country Manager for Microsoft Sri Lanka and Maldives.
Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub launching in Sri Lanka stands as a testament to the tech company’s strife for driving growth among startups in the country. By harnessing the array of Microsoft technologies on offer to startups, they can uniquely position themselves to take their businesses global, eventually resulting in returns for the entire nation.
Microsoft Sri Lanka has been present in Sri Lanka since 2004.