The COVID-19 pandemic led to a revolution for Black Americans, with thousands starting businesses in everything from food to hair care products to clothing.
To help Black entrepreneurs, Microsoft has created a platform to empower and assist startup founders at every stage. AfroTech reports the Microsoft For Startups Founders Hub is a digital platform connecting entrepreneurs and business owners with resources, mentorship, and digital tools to help on the journey from an idea to a thriving business.
Microsoft is working to level the playing field for Black business owners and has offered seven keys to building a successful startup business.
Being true to yourself is one of Microsoft’s first keys. All it takes is one idea and typically the best and most original ideas come from a person’s life experience. The majority of startup programs require founders to be “investor-backed” to receive benefits, Microsoft’s Hub has no funding requirements, making it a point to meet founders where they are in their journey. This will help founders who have been underserved at the start of the journey before they’ve established themselves,
Research the market
Creating a successful product and turning it into a thriving business begins with first understanding the problem you’re solving and your client’s base through market research. Microsoft’s digital tools and resources will help new entrepreneurs expand their skill sets, learn more about running a business and understand their industry at a higher level. Microsoft’s free, online content will connect entrepreneurs with quality business education to give them an advantage.
Seek a mentor
No entrepreneur becomes a success by themselves. Becoming a successful entrepreneur means finding advice and solutions through mentors to avoid pitfalls and mistakes along the way. Microsoft’s Mentor Network, one of the most anticipated features on Microsoft’s For Startups Founders Hub platform, will provide access to mentors with expert insight and feedback on topics ranging from product roadmaps to business strategy to product launches.
Use innovative tools to increase efficiency
Creating a more efficient, cost-effective, and productive startup from the very beginning is paramount to successfully running your business. Microsoft for Startups is providing entrepreneurs and startups with free access to its development and productivity tools to create efficient daily operations. Microsoft has also made the tools easy to pick up and use.
Select the right cloud platform
Picking the right cloud platform can save startups thousands of dollars by storing valuable data and protecting it from hackers and potential data breaches. Microsoft’s Azure platform is a platform founders can build on that is used by corporations, governments, and other startups. Additionally, Azure can streamline products and services to a central location for secure and compliant management.
Find solutions you can trust to address issues
One constant issue for entrepreneurs and startups is finding out which products are the best fit for their operations. Entrepreneurs can save themselves thousands of dollars by finding the right products to deal with their issues with Microsoft’s Partner Benefits. It carries a list of vetted service providers to help startups and entrepreneurs take advantage of exclusive offers for software services, including discounts, free credits and more.
Invest in technical support and guidance to keep your business moving
It is paramount that entrepreneurs provide their staff with the right support as the business grows. Members of the Microsoft for Startups Founders Hub will provide access to technical assistance and experts who can consult one-on-one across a range of topics. Microsoft’s experts can also provide guidance on building a tech stack, prototypes, and long-term support for successful cloud adoption and troubleshooting.
In addition to its Microsoft For Startups platform, the tech giant is helping to increase representation in corporate boardrooms and has announced several other programs dedicated to helping Black and minority businesses.