It was a pleasure participating in the Microsoft for Startups event on 03rd April 2019 at Oslo. Being my first visit to Oslo, I was off early. I got on to the ‘Flytoget’. An enjoyable ride brought me on time to the lovely little station of Lysaker. Though I was a little ahead of time, the place was buzzing with activity – typical of a startup event.
I was the only academic in the event. I was there because I research corporate startup engagements and recently published a paper on corporate accelerators in the JBV.
The day began with a nice breakfast and lovely quick introductions. I met many startup founders excitedly sharing their ideas. Some were curious as to why I was there! My response was “I study what you guys do, so I will be where you guys are”.
The pre-lunch presentations were predominantly “Microsoft” and its programs. It was amazing to see the transformation that Satya Nadella has managed to achieve in a short time. The whole group echoed one message “it is our job to enable your success”. The executives were candid that there was a give-and-take relationship in this engagement. Startups appreciated the candidness.
Since I had studied earlier versions of the Microsoft for Startups program, it was heartening to see how the program has expanded. The program now serves startups at a variety of stages – ideation to scale-up. The presentations of Sensee’s scaling journey was truly reflective of entrepreneurship. Sensee is Norwegian startup which participated in the Microsoft for Startups program at London and is now beginning to see results.
The idea of one-on-one sessions was interesting. While startups spoke to executives and investors, I spoke with the Microsoft for Startups executives and learned how they are expanding their reach across the entire Western Europe. As a scholar interested in corporate startup engagements, it was encouraging.
Overall it was a nice day. I made some new friends. I hope to invite some of the professionals and startup founders to visit us and encourage our students to try living entrepreneurially.