Kochi: Continuing its efforts to accelerate India's startup ecosystem, Microsoft is organising here on Friday a technology workshop with business-mentoring and networking sessions ahead of sustained guidance to select firms.
Organised in association with the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM), the November 22 event is part of the MNC's 'Highway to a Hundred Unicorns' project that aims to strengthen startups in cities beyond metros.
Led by Microsoft experts and industry stalwarts, the day-long event at KSUM's Integrated Startup Complex in Kalamassery will enable innovative entrepreneurs to interact with senior officials of the state government as well, a KSUM release said here on Wednesday.
Organisers said startups in cities beyond metros faced the challenge of keeping operations cost-effective amid a lack of support to cutting-edge technology support and dearth of mentorship from ecosystem players.
It is considering these that Microsoft launched a comprehensive global programme designed to support startups in tier-2 cities as they build and scale their companies.
The event will host a 'Emerge X', which will be a startup competition that seeks to identify the state's top technology startups.
The selected firms will get a chance to pitch on stage in front of a jury of prominent investors, venture capitalists and ecosystem leaders and be recognized as one of the most innovative startups in the state.
Selected startups will be given Microsoft for Startups offers, provided with technical architecture guidance and mentorship by Microsoft.
Subsequently, the top three startups from 'Emerge X' will be invited to a national-level event in 2020.
Lathika S Pai, Country Head, Microsoft for Startups (MENA and SAARC), said India had untapped talent that merited reach-out beyond the metropolitan startup hubs.
"Our tech expertise and experience of engaging with some of the most successful Indian startups will help these innovators become enterprise-ready and scale their operations in within the country and abroad," she said.
KSUM Chief Executive Officer Saji Gopinath said startups in tier-2 cities merited better exposure to advanced technologies as well as networking opportunities.
"An MNC as big as Mircrosoft facilitating it will be of big advantages to such nascent firms aspiring to grow," he said.
Startups attending the event will receive guidance and mentorship through technology workshops on subjects like Azure, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.
Identified top startups in 'Emerge X Kerala' programme will receive Azure credits and select startups will also be invited to pitch for access to the Microsoft ScaleUp programme.
Microsoft for Startups enables startups to reach customers across the globe by leveraging the cloud marketplace, enterprise sales team and partner ecosystem.
Microsoft is uniquely positioned to help startups embrace the next phase of growth and evolve from being market ready to enterprise ready.
Registrations can be made at aka.ms/H2100-kochi, the release said.
Microsoft has been conducting its Highway to a 100 Unicorns series across several states in the country with the aim to discover and enable the next wave of high-potential technology startups with good products and focus on global expansion.