I was able to join the Boston BizSpark Meetup this past week in the Microsoft Cambridge offices (affectionately known as NERD).  It thought it would be tough timing given Tech Tuesday was running concurrently on a different floor, but I was very impressed with the caliber of entrepreneurs represented as well as the speakers (T3 Advisors and Revolutionary Angels).  Everyone was very collaborative and there was tremendous positive energy.

A new Meetup was born this week – the Boston WebsiteSpark Group.  BizSpark was launched in late 2008 and has really taken off.  WebsiteSpark is a similar program, offering web designers and developers:

  • Business Opportunities – Web Pros who deploy a server with WebsiteSpark can get listed in the Find and Expert tab of www.microsoft.com/web
  • Software and Solutions – Web Pros get design and development tools (Visual Studio, Expression) and server software (Windows Web Server, SQL Server) to build new web applications.  In addition, they get production 4 processor licenses of Windows Web Server and SQL Server. 
  • Support and Training – Two professional support incidents are provided per company, access to the managed MSDN newsgroups, and community connection with other WebsiteSpark members (such as the Boston WebsiteSpark Group referenced above).

Microsoft is investing heavily in the web professional community.  Examples include the Web Platform Installer which simplifies getting your web configuration installed and set up, the Web App Gallery (easy access to the more popular web applications), heavy investment in PHP (including taking performance leadership), and helping make the move to cloud computing (such as the PHP to MySQL to SQL Server migration assistant that let’s you take your database and move it to SQL Azure).

To qualify for WebsiteSpark, you need to have 10 or fewer employees and be in the business of building web sites.  If that’s the case, click over to the Microsoft WebsiteSpark site to sign up!