Microsoft for Startups has 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 Emerge X program from six states, which have over 15,000+ startups. The Emerge X winners have greatly 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.
Andres Ortola, country general manager, Microsoft Philippines said, “Startups play a vital role in our economy as innovators, disruptors and first-movers. Through Highway to a 100 Unicorns, we will enable startups in the Philippines and the APAC region so they can have 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.
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 are as follows:
- Business-to-Business companies with product-market fit, revenue generating with at least 3-4 clients.
- Business-to-Customer companies with a large customer base (upward of 100K customers) and are revenue generating.
- 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 Bootcamp over 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.