Microsoft South Africa has launched Head Start, an end-end program that has been built to help startups grow. Photo: (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)

DURBAN - Microsoft South Africa has launched Head Start, an end-end program that has been built to help startups grow. 

The support program will boost tech startups by giving them open access to wide-ranging skills development resources, coaches and mentors, a fully-fledged customer network, and the platform on which to build their products and services.

Head Start is a complete program that will help tech startups innovate in the most trusted cloud, Azure, while strengthening the local startup system and preparing them to sell to the global marketplace. 

Lionel Moyal, Commercial Partners Lead at Microsoft South Africa said, "As a company whose mission it is to empower every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more, we get how critical entrepreneurship is, especially in the South African context where job creation is vital if we are to improve our economy". 

According to Moyal, Microsoft wants to give as much support to tech startups as we can to make South Africa more globally competitive, and create jobs.

To succeed, tech startups need three specific doors to open: the Technology door, the Business Development door and the Compliance, Regulation and Legal door. 

"An important differentiator of the Head Start program is the direct access to coaches and mentors that candidates have to guide them through these three key areas, with over 50 Microsoft South Africa staff volunteering to mentor. Candidates just need to schedule an hour meeting with various business experts from multiple fields across the business, and they’ll get one-to-one expert advice straight from those in the know,"said Moyal. 

The three mentoring categories are defined as: 

1. Technology: App development, Data and AI, DevOps, Cloud Platform, Security, Business Apps, Modern Workplace 

2. Business: Marketing, HR, Finance, Business Development

3. Legal: GDPR, Security, Compliance and Legal

The business benefits for tech startups are multiple and immediate. When candidates join the Microsoft Partner Network, they instantly become part of a global community that links them to the relationships, insights, tools, resources, and programs needed to amaze customers and drive growth. Becoming a part of Head Start means direct access to digital coaching and training, live events, and more. 

The program offers all types of internationally-recognised qualifications and certifications that will allow tech startups can to improve their knowledge and boost their organisation's trajectory.

Moyal explains that through Head Start, Microsoft South Africa can help grow tech startup businesses by opening the right doors at every stage of the journey. And with over ten high-level partners involved in Head Start, the added value proposition is hard to resist. 

The launch of the Microsoft Head Start program coincides with Global Entrepreneurship Week which runs between the 12th and 18th November 2018). 

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