Microsoft Center to Attract Startups in Downtown Atlanta

Microsoft, in an intriguing move geared to Atlanta’s tech and start-up communities, will open an “innovation center” in downtown’s Flatiron building, Atlanta Business Chronicle reported this week.

Microsoft centers “provide resources and support for students, entrepreneurs and startups, accelerating the creation of new companies, jobs and growth of the local software ecosystem,” the article stated.

Flatiron building

Flatiron building will be the home of a new Microsoft “innovation center” in downtown Atlanta.

The Atlanta location, scheduled to open this summer, follows Miami as the second center in the U.S. There are more than 100 centers worldwide.

Free Access to Microsoft Platform

Microsoft will provide the Flatiron’s tenants with a BizSpark subscription — free access to software and development platforms and programs, such as Azure, the Business Chronicle reported. Microsoft also will provide support, including mentoring, coaching and grants.

Microsoft benefits in that it encourages young companies to build their businesses on its software and development platforms. For real estate investor Arun Nijhawan, who is leading Flatiron’s redevelopment, the center helps attract tech and creative companies to fill the 40,000-square-foot office space.

“It’s a place where you bring government, startups, academics and community together,” Microsoft Business Evangelist Bradley Jensen told the Business Chronicle. “It helps foster the growth within the city of an IT skill set, or pool of IT folks…it helps bridge the skills gap.”

New Hub for Startups

City officials hope the 118-year-old Flatiron building, at 74 Peachtree Street, will spur more startups to locate in the downtown area. This has previously happened in other parts of the city.
The Advanced Technology Development Center, a tech business incubator at Georgia Tech, helped turn Midtown into a major hub for tech startups. (Izenda came out of the incubator program.) Atlanta Tech Village in Buckhead has also attracted startups.

The Flatiron area could especially attract entrepreneurs from the adjoining Georgia State University community.

The Microsoft center will work closely with the new Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative, which will also be located at the Flatiron building. The WEI will operate much like other business incubators in the city, including ATDC at Georgia Tech.

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