Bengaluru: Microsoft, on Tuesday, announced the launch of its ‘Highway to a Hundred Unicorns’ initiative to engage with startups and entrepreneurs through a series of outreach programme across Tier-2 cities in India.

Microsoft would work closely with state governments to strengthen the startup ecosystems in the state, the company said in a statement. More than 250 startups attended the first event at Gandhinagar, organised in collaboration with the Industries Commissionerate and iNDEXTb, government of Gujarat, on Tuesday.

“There is a strong pool of ideas and talent beyond the well-known startup hubs of India. Through ‘Highway to a Hundred Unicorns’, we will reach out to startups in Tier-2 cities and support them to achieve scale at their place of origin. Our tech expertise and experience of engaging with some of the most successful Indian startups will help innovators across the breadth of the country become enterprise ready and scale their operations in India and globally,” Lathika Pai, country head, Microsoft for Startups – MENA and SAARC, said in the statement.

Startups that attend the events will receive guidance and mentorship through technology workshops on topics such as Azure, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, the statement said. The top startups identified in the ‘Emerge 10-Gujarat’ will receive Azure credits, and select startups will also be invited to pitch for access to the Microsoft ScaleUp program, the statement added.

The Microsoft ScaleUp programme supports Seed or Series A funded business-to-business (B2B) and select business-to-consumer (B2C) tech-enabled startups to co-sell with Microsoft sales teams, get access to top tech venture capitalists globally and receive mentorship from the startup ecosystem, the company said.

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