microsoft logoMicrosoft has been working hard to get their software tools in the hands of people who are starting out new ventures, and these efforts have been widely well-received.

For instance, the DreamSpark program has provided design and development tools to students worldwide free of charge, while the BizSpark program has provided licenses for the same set of tools to software startups for a mere token fee of $100.

Now there’s a new Website Spark program from Microsoft that is aimed at web professionals and small web development companies who are involved in designing websites and other web-based applications.

Eligibility Criteria for Website Spark

If you build websites for your clients and have no more than 10 people working for you (including owners and employees), you are eligible to sign up for the Website Spark program.

The only restriction is that you must launch a new website or service within 6 months of getting accepted into the program that is built using the tools that you received through WebsiteSpark.

Software Tools included in the Program

If you agree, you will be offered licenses for Visual Studio, Expression Studio, Expression Web, Windows Web Server, and SQL Server Web Edition for three years. You can purchase the licenses at the end of three years or simply exit the program.

There are no up-front costs but you’ll have to pay a $100 program fee once you decide to exit the program. In addition to software licenses, participating web development companies will also get discounts on hosting services for their websites, as well as coverage on the upcoming WebsiteSpark portal.

The WebsiteSpark program is available to web design companies around the world, so if you are planning on launching a company or currently run a small company that meets the requirements, WebsiteSpark might just help company save a ton of money in software licenses and you may also get some extra visibility through the various Microsoft portals.