Today I am pleased to officially announce BizSpark Plus, an extension of the Microsoft BizSpark Program in Australia. This program allows accelerators to offer each of their startups, up to $60,000 worth of Microsoft Windows Azure compute and storage over a 24-month period, at no cost.

In Australia a number of accelerators, have joined the BizSpark Plus program, including:

· Angel Cube

· Blue Chilli

· Founder Institute

· Fishburners

· PushStart

· Startmate

· StartPad

· York Butter Factory

These BizSpark Plus partners were chosen for their exceptional ability to impact the Australian market through their influence in the entrepreneurial community and their proven success with early-stage startups.

The goal of the BizSpark Plus program is to help startups grow their business by offsetting cloud computing costs and enabling startups to spend time and money elsewhere so they can focus on solving their business challenges, learning from their users, hiring more developers, investing in marketing and promoting their business or gaining new customers.

Since its inception, the BizSpark Program has expanded its community to reach over 45,000 startups worldwide to help accelerate their success. BizSpark members gain access to a growing global network of over 2,000 partners that assist startups through financial and legal assistance, mentoring, networking and business advice.

Over time, we will be extending additional offers through our BizSpark Plus Partners. For more information about the program, visit http://www.microsoft.com/bizspark/plus.