Editors’ Note, April 18, 2007 —
This release has been updated to correct the name and title of the Microsoft spokeperson in the sixth paragraph below, and to correct other minor details.
BEIJING — April 18, 2007 — Today at the Microsoft Government Leaders Forum (GLF) 2007, Asian Venture Capital Journal (AVCJ), Group Intelligence Inc., Intel Corporation, Microsoft Corp. and Red Herring Inc. launched SoftwareAP.net (http://www.softwareap.net), a new Web-based initiative to bridge the gap between entrepreneurial high-tech growth companies and the complicated network of venture capitalist and government ecosystems. In the initial phase of the global initiative, companies in Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Singapore will be offered the cross-border growth opportunities they often seek across the Asia-Pacific region.
With support from each of the participating governments, the initiative is aimed at accelerating the growth of software and Web service providers by providing them with access to funding networks, government assistance, and low-cost, high-value business development services. The goal is for the SoftwareAP.net business community ecosystem to comprise more than 70,000 information communication technology (ICT) companies across the Asia-Pacific region. The initiative will also help software companies and participating governments gather valuable census data about the business growth and financing needs of each country’s software economy.
“SoftwareAP.net will provide a simple but valuable link to our New York-based tech vendor community from the heart of the vibrant Asian economy,” said Sal Carrera, director of economic development and real estate for the government of Westchester County, N.Y. “Leveraging the Web for trade development is one of our key growth strategies, as our charter membership in US-Channels.com shows.”
High-tech companies will register their interest in attracting investment and capital by filling out the “investment readiness test drive” questionnaire online. If the company scores well enough and wants to apply for funding, SoftwareAP.net will direct it to the appropriate investment channel, including venture capital, angel investor, private equity or debt finance.
For venture capitalists, a profile of their fund will qualify which deals, industries and geographic regions they like to invest in. This profile will generate qualified deals based on their own criteria. Governments will also be able to take advantage of the initiative with access to profiles of high-growth companies through the deal flow pipeline. Over time SoftwareAP.net will become a great reference base for industry as well as governments.
Economists, governments and businesses often cite innovation as the driving force behind economic growth and development. Ralph Young, Microsoft vice president, believes it’s critical for entrepreneurial economies to focus on four elements for success: fostering education; developing venture capital; maintaining an open business environment; and building global connections.
“The success of entrepreneurial economies lies in the combination of innovation, funding and good management,” Young said. “To become successful, these economies depend on entrepreneurs with commercialized products, a highly skilled and talented work force, venture capitalists, and business consultants. SoftwareAP.net is an excellent example of industry working hand in hand with government and venture capitalists to connect talented entrepreneurs to the capital they need to compete on the global stage.”
The charter sponsors of SoftwareAP.net, AVCJ, Group Intelligence, Intel, Microsoft and Red Herring offer a broad spectrum of expertise — from definitive sources of analysis and information about private equity and venture capital activities to experience connecting investors, inventors and business innovators globally.
“We are proud to be involved in this very timely initiative,” said Mindy Hull, vice president of business development at Red Herring. “Red Herring has a history of uncovering emerging technology companies, and we’re seeing a lot of great new companies in the Asia-Pacific region that are in search of growth assistance. SoftwareAP.net will give them the outlet, tools and resources they need to ensure this happens.”
In its work with local partners throughout the Asia-Pacific region, Microsoft is committed to contributing significantly to make the region more globally competitive. In conjunction with industry and government partnerships, Microsoft facilitates a number of programs to push the envelope of innovation and education and create opportunities for entrepreneurialism.
HeuLab Pte. Ltd., a company in Singapore that develops education applications, was founded in 2002 with five employees and a profit of 600,000 Singapore dollars (SGD). As part of Singapore’s BackPack.NET program, a strategic collaboration between the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) and Microsoft Singapore, the company expanded to 35 employees in just four years and boasts an impressive profit of 3.5 million SGD — a total growth of more than 600 percent. HeuLab also joined the BackPack.NET Developers Community and was able to secure a significant share of the $1.3 billion (U.S.) worldwide
e-learning market; last quarter HeuLab expanded globally, deploying its products in Australia, Korea and Qatar.
Designed to encourage innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit in students all over the world, Microsoft’s Imagine Cup competition provides opportunities for next-generation business leaders to define the future of technology, software and computing. This year the global competition already has more than 100,000 registrants from over 100 countries and will focus on the theme “Imagine a world where technology enables a better education for all.”
The ICT industry is a significant source of economic growth. Implemented locally in partnership with government and industry partners, Microsoft® technologies help create vibrant local software economies and support technological innovation. According to a 2005 IDC economic impact study, the software industry accounted for 38 percent of total ICT employment and continues to exceed total ICT APAC market growth at 9.3 percent. The study shows that software’s multiplier effect demonstrates the extensive ecosystem that can be sustained by companies such as Microsoft. For example, for every $1 of Microsoft revenue, another $12.29 is generated by its surrounding ecosystem. Microsoft’s business model is defined by the company’s reliance on more than 700,000 partners worldwide, many of which are small, innovative companies that fuel their local software economy. The IDC study notes that more than 90 percent of Microsoft’s revenue in the APAC region is generated through its partners.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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