Microsoft Highway to a 100 Unicorns

Microsoft expands startup initiative to boost ecosystem in APAC

Microsoft for Startups launches the “Highway to a 100 Unicorns” initiative in the Asia Pacific to strengthen the region’s startup ecosystem.

This follows the initiative’s success in India, where 56 startups were selected to the Emerge X program from six states, which have over 15,000 startups. The Emerge X winners have benefited from global market access support, a three-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 the 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.

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“Startups play a vital role in our economy as innovators, disruptors, and first-movers,” said Andres Ortola, country general manager, Microsoft Philippines. “Through ‘Highway to a 100 Unicorns,’ we will enable startups in the Philippines and the APAC region so they can have a real impact in their markets and drive digital innovation in the region. We look forward to walking with more 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.

Startups who are eyeing to become part of the initiative need to meet the following set of criteria.

  • Business-to-Business companies with a product-market fit, revenue-generating with at least three to four clients.
  • Business-to-Customer companies with a large customer base (upward of 100,000 customers) and are revenue-generating.
  • Funding is a plus.

All Emerge X startups will be awarded free GitHub and Azure credits and focused business and technology workshops. Three finalists per country will be announced in November. They will benefit from a year-long mentorship with technical and business deep dives, a Founder Bootcamp over three 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.

Submit an application on GrowthEnabler. Applications close on Oct. 31, 2020.