Search FAQ

Search Results

No results found.

Top frequently asked questions

Who is eligible for BizSpark?

Eligible startups must be:
  • Actively engaged in development of a software-based product or service that will form a core piece of its current or intended business*. To meet this requirement the software must:
    • Be owned, not licensed by the Startup.
  • Privately held
  • In business for less than 5 years[1], and
  • Bringing in less than US$1 million in annual revenue[2]

Microsoft may permit individual developers or others and/or separate technology entities who may not meet the standard eligibility requirements to join BizSpark from time to time.

[1] Startups who are actively engaged in software development but have not yet completed the formalities of establishing a business.
[2] This requirement has been adjusted to add local variances calibrated to local economic conditions in the startup’s place of business, below. If a startup's place of business is not listed below, then the revenue limit is US$1 million. US$750,000 China; US$500,000 Korea, Malaysia, Poland, Russia, Spain, Ukraine; US$250,000 Egypt, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam

*Not eligible for BizSpark
  • If you are a consultant.

How long does it take to review my application? I thought it was an immediate enrollment.

Though we receive thousands of applications from around the world every month, we are committed to reviewing and validating the information you provide us within two weeks.

To expedite processing, please include as much detail as possible about your company and solution. As part of the review process, we’d like to check out what you’re doing, so please include your company’s active and valid URL. Lastly, we’d like to be able to reach you at your company email, so please provide that as well. For additional questions, please post on the BizSpark Program Support forums at http://trainingsupport.microsoft.com/lang/tcbizspark

How do we assign the five Visual Studio subscriptions that are available in our membership?

The primary account holder is automatically assigned one of the subscriptions and can invite up to 4 additional members to the BizSpark account (including deleted members and those who did not accept invitations). Once logged into the BizSpark account, go to manage and then, manage members to add more members. Each member you add will be assigned a Visual Studio Enterprise with MSDN subscription.

If you are at your member cap, please contact BizSpark support to apply for a member increase. We need a few days to validate your account information, and in some cases, we will set up a brief phone call to discuss why you need the member increase. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, we will consider membership increases on an annual basis from the date of your enrollment in the program.

How long do Startups have to take advantage of the graduation offer?

Visual Studio subscriptions offered as a BizSpark member benefit remain active until the startup’s graduation date. As part of the graduation offer, these subscriptions can be renewed at a discount.

All frequently asked questions by topic

About BizSpark
What is BizSpark?

Microsoft BizSpark is a global program that helps startups succeed by giving free access to Microsoft Azure cloud services, software and support. BizSpark members receive five Visual Studio Enterprise with MSDN subscriptions, each with a $150 monthly Azure credit. This totals $750/month across all five developers to spend on Azure services. Azure works with Linux and familiar open source technologies such as Ruby, Python, Java and PHP. BizSpark is available to startups that are privately held, less than 5-years-old and earn less than $1M in annual revenue.

BizSpark is committed to helping technology startups realize their goals on their own terms and in the shortest amount of time. Through BizSpark, Microsoft's goals are to:

  • Help young and innovative software companies gain valuable experience and expertise in Microsoft technologies, with no upfront costs.
  • Help startups establish connections with local and global startup ecosystems - VCs, angels, incubators, accelerators, entrepreneur associations, etc.
  • Stimulate vibrant local software ecosystems and promote innovation and interoperability.
  • Support the broadest possible startup audience in a way that complements their values and the organizations that support them.

Why is Microsoft offering this program?

Microsoft believes that by helping startups succeed, we’re helping to build a valued long-term partnership. Together we can build a more vibrant global software economy.

BizSpark helps startups by providing access to Microsoft software when they most need it and can least afford it, and by supporting the network of organizations—startup incubators, accelerators, investors, advisors, government agencies—that are equally involved and invested in software-fueled innovation and entrepreneurship.

Who is eligible for BizSpark?

Eligible startups must be:
  • Actively engaged in development of a software-based product or service that will form a core piece of its current or intended business*. To meet this requirement the software must:
    • Be owned, not licensed by the Startup.
  • Privately held
  • In business for less than 5 years[1], and
  • Bringing in less than US$1 million in annual revenue[2]

Microsoft may permit individual developers or others and/or separate technology entities who may not meet the standard eligibility requirements to join BizSpark from time to time.

[1] Startups who are actively engaged in software development but have not yet completed the formalities of establishing a business.
[2] This requirement has been adjusted to add local variances calibrated to local economic conditions in the startup’s place of business, below. If a startup's place of business is not listed below, then the revenue limit is US$1 million. US$750,000 China; US$500,000 Korea, Malaysia, Poland, Russia, Spain, Ukraine; US$250,000 Egypt, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam

*Not eligible for BizSpark
  • If you are a consultant.

Can my company join BizSpark if we do both software development and IT services?

Yes. However, you have to provide a clear description of your software development and how that forms a core part of your business. If the core business is focused on IT service or computer repair, then you won’t qualify.

Is there any cost associated with joining the BizSpark program?

No. Additionally, BizSpark members may also be eligible for special pricing for other products and services.

How long can Startups participate in BizSpark? What happens afterward?

Startups can participate in the program for three years (self-renewed annually), unless they go public, are acquired by a company that does not itself qualify for BizSpark, or fail to abide by the program’s terms and conditions.

How long does it take to review my application? I thought it was an immediate enrollment.

Though we receive thousands of applications from around the world every month, we are committed to reviewing and validating the information you provide us within two weeks.

To expedite processing, please include as much detail as possible about your company and solution. As part of the review process, we’d like to check out what you’re doing, so please include your company’s active and valid URL. Lastly, we’d like to be able to reach you at your company email, so please provide that as well. For additional questions, please post on the BizSpark Program Support forums at http://trainingsupport.microsoft.com/lang/tcbizspark

How do I join BizSpark?

To enroll in the program, a startup may apply directly to Microsoft, or be nominated by a designated BizSpark Partner. The process takes 5 steps:

  • If you have not signed up for a Microsoft account, do so using the email address you wish to use for your BizSpark account.
  • To start your BizSpark application, go to the BizSpark Registration Page. You must be signed in to your Microsoft account; if not, the system will prompt you to do so.
  • You will have to choose a language for your BizSpark email communication (this can be changed later).
  • Next, enter information about the startup (including your invitation number, if applicable). This will be reviewed to determine eligibility, so please be as complete and accurate as possible.
  • Review and accept the BizSpark Startup Agreement and the BizSpark Program End User License Agreement ("EULA"). Acceptance of the Startup Agreement and EULA are required to continue the enrollment process.

Once you complete these steps, the application will be reviewed. When you qualify, you’ll receive a welcome email that explains how to activate your Visual Studio Enterprise with MSDN subscription.

Note: If you have previously applied or been a member of BizSpark you will need to use a new Microsoft account for any new applications.

Account Management
What is a Microsoft account?

A Microsoft Account (formerly known as Windows Live ID) is what you use to sign in to Microsoft services such as outlook.com (or Hotmail), Office, OneDrive, Skype, Xbox, Windows, and more. It makes your experiences on devices and services more personal and relevant to you.

How do we change the Primary Account holder on the account?

To reassign your BizSpark administrator privileges, you will first need to add a user to your BizSpark account. Please keep in mind your BizSpark account is limited; all users count toward this limit, even if they are later removed.

  • Go to the Microsoft.com/BizSpark portal and log in with the Microsoft account assigned to the current administrator.
  • Navigate to the My BizSpark tab
  • Click the Manage link at the right of the page
  • Click manage members tab
  • Add the new member (for example, John Doe)
  • The new member will receive an email invitation, and will have to accept the BizSpark Terms of Service and EULA to proceed.

Once the invitation has been accepted and the new user has received their confirmation of enrollment:

  • Go to the Microsoft.com/BizSpark portal and log in with the Microsoft account assigned to the current administrator.
  • Navigate to the My BizSpark tab
  • Click the Manage link at the right of the page
  • Click manage members tab
  • Click Change Primary Contact, above the list of team members
  • Select the new administrator from the list.

If you are unable to locate the Primary Account holder or they have left the company, please visit the BizSpark Support Forums to make the necessary changes.

How do we assign the five Visual Studio subscriptions that are available in our membership?

The primary account holder is automatically assigned one of the subscriptions and can invite up to 4 additional members to the BizSpark account (including deleted members and those who did not accept invitations). Once logged into the BizSpark account, go to manage and then, manage members to add more members. Each member you add will be assigned a Visual Studio Enterprise with MSDN subscription.

If you are at your member cap, please contact BizSpark support to apply for a member increase. We need a few days to validate your account information, and in some cases, we will set up a brief phone call to discuss why you need the member increase. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, we will consider membership increases on an annual basis from the date of your enrollment in the program.

We added a new member, but they cannot activate their MSDN subscription. What do we do?

After invitation, your member receives an activation link via email from bzsadmin@microsoft.com. Make sure they check their junk folders for invitation emails. The activation link sends the member to accept the BizSpark agreement and activate their Visual Studio Enterprise with MSDN subscription. If the member has any issues activating the Visual Studio subscription after 24 hours, they should contact Subscriptions Customer Service here (https://msdn.microsoft.com/subscriptions/contactus) or post on the BizSpark Program Support Forums (http://trainingsupport.microsoft.com/tcbeizspark), making sure to note the MSDN subscription ID displayed on the My BizSpark page (https://www.microsoft.com/bizspark/member/default.aspx).

How do I gain access to production software?

One of your Visual Studio subscribers will need to download the software from Subscriber Downloads.

If you are having trouble accessing Subscriber Downloads, try signing out, clearing your browser cache and signing in again. If you see continued issues, please contact Subscriptions Customer Service at http://msdn.microsoft.com/subscriptions/contactus.

What kind of technical support is available in BizSpark?

Each startup receives four technical support incidents, managed by Microsoft. These technical support incidents are provided through the Visual Studio Enterprise with MSDN subscription that your BizSpark Administrator receives. You'll first need to create a Support Contract before you can use your incidents. Please see this page for instructions. If you need assistance, Subscriptions Customer Service can help walk you through this process.

Does every individual in a startup have to enroll in BizSpark in order to download and use program software?

The BizSpark Administrator and four additional employees each receive a Visual Studio Enterprise with MSDN subscription. Only these users are able to download software, and only these users are licensed to use the software included within the Visual Studio subscription for development and testing. Each Visual Studio subscriber must accept the BizSpark end user license agreement and startup agreement terms.

Production software licenses granted through BizSpark are subject to their respective licensing terms.

Please note that the number of Visual Studio subscriptions is limited, and that each invitation counts against this limit, whether or not it is accepted or later deleted. Please visit the BizSpark Support Forums with a business justification to request an increase.

Business, Products, and Software
Is BizSpark available to Startups that also use open source technologies?

Yes! BizSpark is available to any startup that meets the program eligibility requirements. Microsoft Azure works with Linux and a variety of familiar open source tools so sign up and try us out with your free cloud credits.

We’ve outsourced some of our development work to a third party company. Can their staff use the Microsoft software that we’re licensed to use through BizSpark?

Each person who accesses the software will need a Visual Studio subscription. If you have available Visual Studio subscriptions to assign, you can assign them to contractors. Otherwise, the contractors will need to acquire their own Visual Studio subscriptions. The level of subscription needed will depend on what software they’re accessing. For more details, please review the Visual Studio subscription comparison.

What is the monetary value of the software I am using (for tax or business forecasts)?

Because we operate in multiple regions and geographies around the world, each area has different tax laws and requirements. Ultimately, each startup is responsible for paying its own taxes resulting from participation in BizSpark.

How do I prove (e.g., government agency, accountants, etc.) the Microsoft software from BizSpark is legally licensed?

Please use our BizSpark welcome letter, a screen shot of each Visual Studio subscriber’s My Account page (make sure to obscure the Subscriber ID so that it is not compromised), and the BizSpark agreement as proof that your licenses are legitimate.

Please visit the BizSpark Support Forums if you require additional documentation.

What products do I have access to for design, dev/test, and demo?

Each of the five people at your startup who have a Visual Studio Enterprise with MSDN subscription can access virtually all the software Microsoft has to offer. The best place to look is in Subscriber Downloads where you’ll simply click “Details” for any download and see if it is available to the “Visual Studio Enterprise with MSDN (BizSpark)” subscription level. You can also consult a products by benefit level spreadsheet and choose the Visual Studio Enterprise with MSDN tab for a representative list of products.

What products do I have access to for production and hosting?

To find the most recent information, click products by benefit level and choose the BizSpark tab at the bottom of the sheet.

For IT operations servers

To help manage software in production and deployment of startup’s new “software as a service” offer to be delivered to customers over the Internet.

  • System Center Configuration Manager
  • System Center VM Manager (current)
  • System Center Datacenter with Service Pack 1 (current)
  • System Center R2 Preview Operations Manager (current)
  • System Center Essentials (current)
  • System Center Operations Manager (current)
For production and hosting servers

For production and deployment of startup’s new “software as a service” offer to be delivered to customers over the Internet.

  • SQL Server Enterprise Core Edition (current)
  • Windows Server Web R2 (current)
  • Windows Server R2 Standard and Enterprise (current)
  • Windows Server Standard and Enterprise without Hyper-V (current)
  • BizTalk Server R2 Branch, Standard, and Enterprise Editions (current)
  • SharePoint Server (current)
  • Dynamics CRM Enterprise (current)

What new releases have you launched through the BizSpark program?

Visual Studio subscribers get new Microsoft software all the time, which is one of the key benefits of having a subscription. Visit Subscriber Downloads regularly to check on new software releases.

Azure Questions
How do the monthly Azure credits for Visual Studio subscribers work? How do I sign up?

To help you get into the cloud, each of your five Visual Studio Enterprise with MSDN subscribers have a US$150 monthly Azure credit while you remain active in the BizSpark program. Signing up is easy, just visit My Account and click “Activate Microsoft Azure”.

How do I transfer Azure Resources to my BizSpark Azure subscription?

The Azure support team can handle this request for you. Contact them at http://azure.microsoft.com/support and then click "get support." Look for the "Subscription Management" request type.

I have some questions about Azure Billing.

The Azure support team can handle this request for you. Contact them at http://azure.microsoft.com/support and then click "get support." Look for the "Billing" request type.

Graduation
How long do Startups have to take advantage of the graduation offer?

Visual Studio subscriptions offered as a BizSpark member benefit remain active until the startup’s graduation date. As part of the graduation offer, these subscriptions can be renewed at a discount.

If I do not renew my Visual Studio subscription after I graduate from BizSpark, do my product keys continue to work?

Yes, BizSpark enrollees that complete the graduation survey have a perpetual license for the five Visual Studio Enterprise with MSDN subscriptions included as a program benefit, according to the license grant terms. This enables those five subscribers to continue using the software and product keys that were downloaded prior to expiration. However, only active Visual Studio subscribers can access Subscriber Downloads to get the newest software releases.

How can I use the software included in my BizSpark membership after graduation?

The products listed in your license grant will be contingent upon the users and production servers attributed to your company upon completion of the Graduation survey. Prior to completing graduation, please ensure that you have added any users who will need to be included in the licensing grant, and move servers into production.

If you have been to the BizSpark site and completed the graduation survey, BizSpark will provide your organization with a perpetual license for five Visual Studio Enterprise with MSDN subscriptions, and authorized production licenses of your software as a service solution. You may continue using any of the software listed on the license grant according to the use rights listed on the license grant.

If you have not been to the BizSpark site and/or not completed the graduation survey, the terms of your agreement with BizSpark set forth that you will stop using any Microsoft software provided or accessed from the BizSpark program and tools as of the end of the 3-year program or upon discharge from the program, whichever occurs first. If you wish to continue using any of the Microsoft software provided or accessed from the BizSpark program and tools, you will need to purchase licenses through an authorized reseller.

Why should I renew through volume licensing?

Volume licensing of software is a cost-effective strategy to purchase licenses within a single purchasing organization. Volume licensing also provides greater choice, better control, and easier license management.

For your server licenses: You may purchase Software Assurance for the server software listed on your license grant within 90 days of your graduation date. You may purchase Software Assurance from any reseller in your country; however, only the BizSpark resellers listed on your license grant are authorized to sell licenses with special graduation pricing.

How do I find out the pricing for keeping my licenses current?

The BizSpark reseller for your area can get you Software Assurance pricing for your production server licenses and your Visual Studio Enterprise with MSDN subscriptions. You may find estimated reseller prices for Microsoft software licenses using the Microsoft License Advisor.

Microsoft sets pricing to the BizSpark reseller or the BizSpark reseller's distribution partner, but Microsoft does not set your final pricing.

How do I get in touch with my local reseller?

Your BizSpark reseller information should appear on your license grant, which can be found on your BizSpark dashboard under Manage > Legal Agreements. If you are having trouble getting in touch with your reseller, please contact BizSpark reseller support.

Network Partner
What is a BizSpark Partner?

BizSpark Partners are community organizations engaged with high-potential, early stage startups. They are specifically focused on supporting software entrepreneurs and startups.

Their activities include a focus on promoting and supporting software Startups through programs, mentoring, networking, business advice, or financial and legal assistance.

If you are interested in becoming a Network Partner, please contact BizSpark support.

What role do Network Partners play in recruiting startups for enrollment in BizSpark?

Microsoft wants to create a strong partnership with the entrepreneurial community, and we expect most startups to be associated with, and therefore recruited by, BizSpark Network Partners. In situations where BizSpark Network Partner availability is limited, Microsoft may work directly with startups to enroll them.

How do I nominate startups through my Network Partner?

Log in to the BizSpark Champ Portal. At the bottom of the dashboard, click Invite Companies.

Select Create Auto-Enrollment Email on the left sidebar. Fill in the form with enrollee data to generate an email for the startup to use to register for the program. Once the startup signs up to BizSpark, they will be reviewed by a Microsoft Local Evangelist. Once they are approved by the Evangelist, the startup will appear on your BizSpark Partner Dashboard.

How much does it cost to be a Microsoft BizSpark Network Partner?

There are no costs or fees associated with being a Microsoft BizSpark Network Partner. Network Partners must simply agree to program terms and conditions.

What are a few benefits of working with a Network Partner?

BizSpark is designed to unite a global community of peers, technical resources, and entrepreneurial mentors who can effectively address the unique business development challenges that Startups face. BizSpark directly connects Startups with a community of economic and entrepreneurial development organizations, or Network Partners, who fully understand the startup environment and what it takes to go big quickly. These Network Partners specialize in promoting and supporting startups through programs, business mentoring, networking, financial assistance, peer connections, and other resources that drive startup success.

BizSpark Plus
What is BizSpark Plus?

BizSpark Plus helps cover a startup’s cloud computing costs by providing up to $120K worth of Azure over one year.

Through this offer, every dollar startups save on their cloud computing costs means more money for them to spend elsewhere for hiring developers, investing in marketing, acquiring new customers, etc.

Who qualifies for BizSpark Plus?

BizSpark plus is only available to startups who are:

  • A member of a select Accelerator or VC firm
  • Less than five years old
  • Privately held
  • Making less than US$1M annually

How does a startup qualify for BizSpark Plus?

BizSpark Plus is membership is offered by invitation only exclusively through select Accelerators and VC firms. When you are ready to scale, ask an Accelerator or VC firm how to get BizSpark Plus and the Azure $120k offer.

Need BizSpark program information?

Visit the BizSpark Support Forums

Need Developer Network (MSDN) subscription assistance?

Contact MSDN Subscription Help