Working to help foster Canadian innovation and entrepreneurship, Microsoft Canada  has announced formal relationships with three of the country’s leading startup hubs: Launch Academy  in Vancouver, Montreal’s Notman House  and MaRS Discovery District  in Toronto. The relationship is part of Microsoft Ventures , a global initiative to help entrepreneurs build great companies. Working with startups at every stage of maturity, the initiative provides the tools, resources, and expertise startups need to help succeed.
“We are excited to partner with these three leading startup hubs because entrepreneurism is a local phenomenon and Launch Academy, Notman House and MaRS Discovery District with their proven record for success, represent amazing examples of startup innovation, support and community,” said Cliff Reeves, senior director of community programs, Microsoft Ventures. “Great ideas and smart businesses are created in local entrepreneurial communities and we are looking forward to collaborating with Launch Academy, Notman House and MaRS Discovery District, some of Canada’s leading startup hubs.”
“This relationship embodies the spirit of creativity and entrepreneurship here in Vancouver. Microsoft has been instrumental in the growth and establishment of Launch Academy as the Centre for Entrepreneurship in British Columbia. We are excited to expand our relationship with Microsoft Ventures and continue building the vibrant startup ecosystem and prosperous economy we all aspire to achieve,” added Ray Walia, Executive Director, Launch Academy.
Microsoft Ventures works actively in the community to empower and enable entrepreneurs to thrive by offering resources to help launch successful businesses and, by extension, to help grow the Canadian economy overall. Microsoft is on site at all three locations to provide technical mentorship and assistance as well as access to devices for development and testing.
“Having members of the Microsoft Ventures team onsite at MaRS offers tremendous value to the diverse and talented entrepreneurs who gather here from across many fields and focus on many different technologies and markets,” said Salim Teja, Managing Director of MaRS’ ICE practice. “We’re thrilled to have them here as a resource for our startups.”
The Microsoft BizSpark  program further supports tech startups by providing them with free software including Windows, Visual Studio, Office and more representing over $13,000 in software. Windows Azure cloud hosting credits worth $150 a month is also available to technology based startups through Microsoft BizSpark.
“Montreal has a growing web culture, and being the “Home of the Web” allows us to be at the center of all things tech in Montreal,” said Alan MacIntosh, President of OSMO Foundation. “Having Microsoft Ventures and BizSpark permanently in the house has been a fantastic offering for the city’s developers, who are constantly seeking to bring new innovations to the web space. An invaluable partner, they offer our visitors access to markets that they wouldn’t have otherwise, as well as unparalleled support for our developers through their presence at the House.”