Updated: 06 Jan 2012

De Montfort University Joins Global Program to Boost Software Business Startups

4th November 2008

De Montfort University (DMU) today announced that its Institute of Creative Technologies (IOCT) has been selected to join the Microsoft BizSpark program as a Network Partner - the first in the East Midlands region.

BizSpark is a new global program designed to accelerate the success of new businesses by connecting them to Network Partners who can provide specialist support and expertise.

Launched this month in over 30 countries around the world, BizSpark aims to help businesses actively engaged in development of a software-based product or service.

DMU's IOCT is one of only 28 UK Network Partners at the time of launch and the only one in the East Midlands. See: www.microsoft.com/bizspark for more information.

Both the University and Microsoft are committed to helping entrepreneurs transform their ambitions into sustainable, dynamic businesses and to foster innovation and entrepreneurialism.

To this end, the BizSpark program will provide startups with software, support and visibility at a time when they are most valuable and least affordable – during the business’s first three years, with no upfront costs.

Software Economist for Microsoft, Lars Lindstedt, said: "It is often from startups that so many of the ideas that are changing the way we live and work in the UK emerge - but at the moment life is even harder for them than at any time in the last five years. That's why we've introduced BizSpark.

“BizSpark is all about keeping costs down in the most difficult time for new ventures, it's about giving them access to people who can help to solve problems and it's about creating networks of innovative businesses. This scheme helps people with great ideas turn them into reality. As one of our network partners, De Montfort University Institute of Creative Technologies share our passion for software entrepreneurship and we are working with them to reach as many people as possible."

Dr Tracy Harwood, Senior Research Fellow at the IOCT, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for De Montfort University to support start-ups with some highly specialised knowledge and some more general business expertise through our Innovation Centre’s range of business support services. This also gives us an opportunity to work with partners to develop our research interests, some of which we anticipate will be led by new technology companies.

“Our partnership with Microsoft’s BizSpark programme also has the potential to link us to a strong global community of technology companies and researchers, with benefits for the city of Leicester and the East Midlands region. It’s particularly relevant for the city at the moment, given the investment in a £21M digital media centre which will include a number of business units and workspaces, and in which De Montfort University, through the IOCT, is a key partner. The centre is due to open to the public in Autumn 2009 and business units will be available earlier in the summer.

Janette Pallas: “Becoming a BizSpark Network Partner enables DMU Innovation Centre to offer an enhanced level of business start-up support to our innovative technology-based tenant companies. This will build on our existing business support services and networks, by offering privileged access to specialist software for early start companies developing new software applications.”

For further information or to be kept informed about IOCT activities, please contact:
The Director, Institute of Creative Technologies,
De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH
Tel: (+44) 0116 250 6146
Email: eedmonds [at] dmu.ac.uk

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