Microsoft expands “Highway to a 100 Unicorns” initiative to support startups in Sri Lanka

(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – Microsoft for Startupsrecently launched the Highway to a 100 Unicorns initiative in Asia Pacific to strengthen the region’s startup ecosystem.This follows the initiative’s success in India, where only 56 startups were selected to the EmergeX program from six states, which have over 15000+ startups. The EmergeX winners havegreatly benefited with global market access support, a 3-day founder bootcamp with world class mentors, access to funding,ongoing mentorship, and guidance on Azure, artificial intelligence, machine learning and more.

Innovation is critical to unlocking inclusive economic growth in Asia Pacific; high income economies in the region invest 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.

“At Microsoft, we are working to build up a more supportive ecosystem for startups in Sri Lanka,” said Hasitha Abeywardena, Country Manager, Microsoft Sri Lanka and Maldives. “Startups play a vital role in our economy as innovators, disruptors and first-movers. Sri Lanka needs more entrepreneurial development to fuel economic growth. Through Highway to a 100 Unicorns, we will enable startups in Sri Lankato drive digital innovation in the region. We look forward to walking with founders along their growth journey and supporting them to scale and achieve more.”

Emerge X Competition

 Innovators and entrepreneurs from a total of 16 countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) are invited to be a 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. Criteria for startups to apply for Emerge X is as follows:

  1. Business-to-Businesscompanies with product-market fit, revenue generating with at least 3-4 clients.
  2. Business-to-Customer companieswith a large customer base (upward of 100K customers) and are revenue generating.
  3. Funding is a plus.

All Emerge X startups will be awarded with free GitHub and Azure credits and focused business and technology workshops. Three finalists per country will be announced in November. They will additionally benefit from a year-long mentorship with technical and business deep dives, a Founder Bootcampover 3 days, access to enterprise clients globally through Microsoft’s unique co-sell program as well as opportunities to interact with Microsoft experts and industry stalwarts.

APPLY for the EmergeX competition:

  • Submitan application on GrowthEnabler: https://aka.ms/highway
  • Startups must bring their GrowthEnabler profile to 80% to be considered.
  • Applications close on 31 October 2020
  • For any support, please contact[email protected]

 

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