Microsoft recently announced the launch of its ScaleUp program for Sri Lanka. The program is aimed at providing a boost to the Sri Lankan startup ecosystem. Sri Lanka will be one of the first countries in the SAARC and Middle Eastern regions to join the global initiative empowering entrepreneurs around the world on their journey to build great companies.
What would Microsoft ScaleUp do?
The program will focus on late-stage B2B startups and help them accelerate their business growth. This would be done via mentorship and streamlined go-to-market activities. More importantly, they would also provide access to world-class technology. The program, which typically lasts for six months, will allow local startups to work closely with Microsoft leaders and industry experts. It would also leverage the company’s global network of partners and customers to scale their business models and co-sell with Microsoft.
In September, Microsoft for Startups’ Country Head for MENA & SAARC Lathika Pai briefed 25 of the most promising local startups during her two-day visit in Sri Lanka. These entrepreneurial ventures included: AdSpark.IO, Alakazam, Maturify, Park and Pay, Payment Services, SIXER VIDEO, Forestpin, Linear Squared, PickMe, Blue Lotus, Nimbus Ventures and Enhancer.
“The ScaleUp program will give Series-A funded startups access to Microsoft’s technology expertise, infrastructure and cloud platform to build a strong technology backbone for their business,” noted Lathika. “These startups will have access our global team, which aims to foster peer support and networking while our co-selling resources will help them tap into global markets.”
The decision to bring the program to Sri Lanka followed extensive research and discussions with the local startup community. The announcement also comes three months after the country’s National Chamber of Exporters held an exclusive forum for local ICT representatives in June, highlighting their industry’s potential to become a US$ 5 billion industry by 2022—creating 200,000 direct job opportunities, and enabling the launch of up to 1,000 startups.
“We have supported and worked with over 200 local startups over the past five years,” said Hasitha Abeywardena, Country Manager for Microsoft Sri Lanka and Maldives. “In my experience, startups today are not after more free credits—instead, they need our help to take their products to international markets. With the ScaleUp program, we intend to do just that and more.”