Following a successful initiative in India, Microsoft has launched the Highway to a 100 Unicorns in 16 Asia Pacific markets.
The initiative looks to empower startups with mentoring, technology and access to enterprise clients.
“Startups play a vital role in our economy as innovators, disruptors and first-movers. Through Highway to a 100 Unicorns, we will enable startups in APAC so they can have real impact in their markets and drive digital innovation in the region,” said Ricky Kapur, the Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Operations for Microsoft Asia Pacific.
Innovators and entrepreneurs from 16 countries, including Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam will be invited to be part of the Highway to a 100 Unicorns initiative.
To be considered, startups will first have to submit an application for Emerge X competitions in their countries. Business-to-business startups must have a product-market fit and revenue generating with at least three to four clients. Business-to-customer startups should have a large customer base with upwards of 100,000 customers, and are revenue generating.
“We look forward to walking with more founders along their growth journey and supporting them to scale and achieve more,” said Mr. Kapur.
All Emerge X startups will be awarded with free GitHub and Azure credits, focused business and technology workshops as well as a year-long mentorship with technical and business deep dives, a Founder Bootcamp across three days, access to enterprise clients globally through Microsoft’s co-sell program, and opportunities to interact with Microsoft experts and industry stalwarts.
In India, only 56 startups were selected to be part of the Emerge X program from six states, which have over 15,000 startups.
Innovation is critical to unlocking inclusive economic growth in Asia Pacific, with high income economies in the region investing three times more in research and development as compared to their peers.
To spur innovative entrepreneurship, Microsoft will work closely with governments and industry partners to discover and nurture technology startups with a high potential to become truly global enterprises in the future.
Image credit: Microsoft