Dell, Microsoft launch online platform supporting global startups, hubs

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A partnership between Dell, Microsoft, Capital Factory and 1776 has announced the launch of international startup platform Union, aimed at supporting the next billion entrepreneurs by supporting and connecting them and removing barriers to innovation regardless of location.

The platform is set to benefit African startups, with 1776 and Microsoft already active on the continent, and is accessible through the Startup Federation – a worldwide network with already more than 30 startup campuses and mega-hubs.

Union will provide entrepreneurs anywhere in the world with the ability to reach the people, resources and education they need to take their ideas from seed to scale. It has been designed by 1776’s team of engineers and aided by insights from incubators, accelerators, hubs and experts around the world.

The platform enables entrepreneurs to find content and courses in business-building, tap elite mentors in their industries for advice, consult experts in skills like marketing, sales, engineering and human resources, and connect with potential investors, customers and business partners.

“Smart entrepreneurs with highly promising ideas exist everywhere on the planet, and it’s time to stop letting location limit young companies’ ability to grow,” said Donna Harris, co-founder of 1776.

“With technology connecting a network of local startup hubs, together we can empower entrepreneurs everywhere to share classes, content, mentors and other critical resources needed to succeed.”

Entrepreneurship hubs around the world will also be able to share the tools and programming playbooks needed to operate a world-class startup centre, with Capital Factory to play a key role in this effort.

“Many cities lack a robust networks of local mentors and investors to help startup companies grow,” said Joshua Baer, executive director of Capital Factory in Austin. “With the Startup Federation and Union, every city can give their startups access to the best help and programming from around the world. We’re thrilled to be the first to join.”

Karen Quintos, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Dell, said entrepreneurs powered global economies, creating 70 per cent of all new jobs in the world and up to 90 per cent in some emerging markets.

“Dell and 1776 are partnering to enable entrepreneurs by creating avenues for entrepreneurs, wherever they are in the world, to access the experts, channels, customers and investors they need to take their ideas to scale and drive job creation in their communities,” she said.

Larry Orecklin, vice president for developer experience and chief evangelist at Microsoft, said the company was excited to be part of Union to help entrepreneurs take their ideas to the next level.

“Microsoft is committed to equipping innovative startups with the tools, mentorship and customer access that they need to grow. Through our partnership with 1776 and Union, we’ll be able to reach and support more startups, even faster,” he said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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