Startup America gets Microsoft, Google, HP support

More than 15 companies are kicking in a total of $400 million in money, services, and training for the White House-backed effort to help entrepreneurs get off the ground.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
3 min read

Microsoft, Google, Hewlett-Packard, and a host of other companies are providing funds and resources to the Startup America Partnership to further the group's goal of fostering the entrepreneurial spirit.

More than 15 companies will kick in a total of $400 million in money, services, training, and other benefits that will go directly to entrepreneurs trying to get their ideas and businesses off the ground.

Launched this past January with the backing of the White House and contributions from IBM and Intel, the Startup America Partnership tries to network entrepreneurs, investors, non-profit groups, and corporations in a bid to create the next generation of employers for American workers.

The new round of funding and other resources will go to qualifying entrepreneurs who are members of Startup America.

One of the companies donating to the cause is Google, which has committed $100 million to help entrepreneurs promote their businesses through Google ads.

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Microsoft has promised to make its BizSpark program freely available to qualified software startups. Set up in 2008, BizSpark offers Microsoft software free of charge for three years, during which time users can receive support, training, and access to the company's cloud-based Azure platform. BizSpark also gives entrepreneurs access to a large network of mentors, partners, and potential investors.

HP will offer start-up businesses discounts on a wide array of its products, including PCs, smartphones, tablets, printers, and servers. The company is estimating that the total savings could amount to $100 million over three years. Networking giant Cisco Systems has pledged free training for around 6,000 entrepreneurs by January 2014, a service valued at more than $3 million, according to the company.

LinkedIn is setting itself up as the overall platform through which members of Startup America can promote themselves and build their businesses. The social network will also donate training, services, and products to qualifying members. And Intuit has promised special offers and discount pricing for its various products and services, including QuickBooks Online, Intuit Payroll Services, and QuickBooks Merchant Services.

Several non-tech companies, including American Express, Ernst & Young, and Silicon Valley Bank, have also pledged money and resources. Further, Startup America is tapping into the nonprofit sector through contributions from The National Center for Women & Information Technology, The National Venture Capital Association, and Palindrome Advisors.

To kick off the new investments, Startup America will host a roundtable today at 4:30 PT to be streamed live on Facebook. The roundtable will follow a streamed town hall discussion on the state of the economy to be conducted by President Obama directly from Facebook headquarters.

"We're gratified by the response we've seen from the private sector since launching the Startup America Partnership less than 90 days ago," Startup America Chairman and AOL co-founder Steve Case said in a statement. "Today's announcement of new commitments highlights the progress we're making to provide entrepreneurs with resources to grow and scale. We're grateful for the companies that have stepped up to help celebrate and accelerate entrepreneurs and we look forward to adding additional partners in the near future."