Today is the twenty-sixth day of Diduary. You can see links to all of the published articles in the series here.
Yesterday, I talked about how, if you are a student, you could get access to Microsoft’s development tools for free. Today, I’m here to talk to you about how even if you’re not in school, you might be eligible for free development tools.
The first way you can qualify is simple, through a program called BizSpark:
In order to qualify for BizSpark, you have to be a privately-held business that is “actively engaged in development of a software-based product or service that will form a core piece of its current or intended business.” Lots of words, but basically, you need to be a company writing software as a core part of your business.
Secondarily, you also have to have less than $1 million in revenue, and have been around less than 3 years. What this means is that if you’ve been meaning to start a software company, NOW’s the time to do it. Microsoft’s entire development stack, for free, just for doing what you love? Sounds perfect. The entire list of “what you get” is listed here, on the BizSpark website. The only catch to this (and the following) program are that it only runs for three years. After those three years, your eligibility expires, and you must pay $100 for the program. If you are a software business, and after using all of Microsoft’s tools for three years, you haven’t made $100, you’re doing something wrong. 🙂
If, for some reason, you don’t qualify for BizSpark, there’s an alternative that might be more up your alley: WebsiteSpark.
This program is different in that it caters to web development shops. Again, for those of you that have been itching to get out on your own and start a freelancing web development business, now is the time. The onlt requirements are that your primary business is web development and design, and that your company (including owner and all employees) is less than 10 people.
In addition to the software, however, Microsoft will also work to help promote your business through the WebsiteSpark marketplace, offer you free training on their software and tools, and support you as your business grows.