Given the promising outlook of cloud computing, start building expertise around cloud computing technologies by choosing one or more of the leading brands: Amazon Web Service (AWS), Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Digital Ocean, Alibaba Cloud. All of them have special packages for startups with liberal credits to learn, try new ideas. Even if you do not join or not approved for their startup or partner programs, you can register as a customer and chances are you still get free perks/credits.
1. Amazon Web Services (AWS)
If AWS, follow the course roadmap prescribed as part of AWS certifications while joining as AWS Partner. As a Registered AWS Partner (free tier), you will learn about cloud technologies while nurturing your skills as a consultant/developer. We are a Registered Consulting Partner.
Point taken that DIPP recognition has its own criterion of being incorporated as a private limited company or registered as a partnership firm or a limited liability partnership. This might not be suitable for newbies or those who prefer to be freelancers in true spirit. Now, any startup (not just registered with StartupIndia or DIPP recognized) can apply for the AWS Activate Founders program and subject to meeting their conditions be granted 1350$ AWS credit (1,000 USD in AWS credits, valid for two years, and $350 USD in AWS Developer Support credits valid for one year). One can apply for both, (possibility to avail $100,000 in AWS Activate credits).
2. WP Engine
Simultaneously, consider partnering with technology companies like WPEngine for developing state-of-the-art websites powered by WordPress (WP Engine is an AWS Partner Network (APN) Advanced Technology Partner with the AWS Digital Customer Experience Competency). We are a WPEngine Agency Partner. For agencies and end-users, it perhaps makes more sense to opt for such hosting solutions that take care of most back end technology stuff. Agencies stay focused on creating content as part of generating a great client experience; clients stay focused on their core work which is not maintaining servers like AWS. WP Engine’s technology improves site speed, while providing the intelligence to make it even faster. Tools like Local + WP Engine Connect make WP Engine relevant for hard-core developers too.
Headless WordPress with Atlas is the latest innovative feature by WP Engine and all agency partners are provided extensive free support to leverage this opportunity to make WordPress sites load absurdly fast.
Now, coming to Microsoft, it appears that they are not as liberal as AWS when it comes to providing credit to startups. Nevertheless, Microsoft has a unique set of features, and there are ways by which startups can associate with Microsoft for free.
The best way perhaps should be by registering under Microsoft for Startups, but this has its own criteria which might not be fulfilled by all. Till recently, Microsoft for Startups program was open to only those startups who were registered with a list of accelerators/incubators.
Now, the program in limited preview is open to all founders. They are reviewing applications on a rolling basis and will notify you if you are granted access.
So if your company is not approved for Microsoft for Startup Founders Hub, there are other resources for startups and small businesses to explore:
|Bring your startup’s ideas to life with an Azure free account.|
Join the Microsoft Partner Network a to expand your business, engage customers, earn more, and get discounts on Microsoft products.
Discover the most popular Microsoft products for startups, including Visual Studio, Microsoft 365 Business, Power BI, and Dynamics 365, plus the GitHub development platform.
With Microsoft Partner Networks, one can start for free albeit paid subscriptions (Microsoft Action Pack) will help leverage the program to its full.
4. IBM Cloud
We applied for the Builder Plan and initially got approved. Unfortunately, within days, the same was revoked for not meeting the criteria. They did not cite the exact reason.
Hi Rajeev, welcome to Startup with IBM!
Congratulations, you have been accepted into the Startup with IBM program.
Your account number is confirmed and as follow:
To complete your registration and to begin your partnership journey with IBM, follow these simple steps:
|1. Access your $1,000 monthly credit on IBM Cloud|
|Step 1: Check your inbox for a separate email titled “Action Required! Complete your IBMid – SoftLayer identity link.” (you might need to check your spam folders) Step 2: Click the “Complete Registration” link within that email to complete your account registration.|
|2. Get started building with the platform|
|Log in with your IBMid credentials to browse the IBM Cloud Services Catalog. From core concepts to beginners tutorials, visit IBM docs and find the information you need to start using IBM Cloud.|
|3. Sell with IBM|
Once you’ve built your solution, expand your audience! Get in front of 25 million customers, partners, and developers, and access leading buyers and sellers around the globe through IBM Marketplace. Refer to IBM Partners for more information.
|Reference your resources|
|Build your skills and develop competencies on IBM technologies with learning paths. Access 100 code patterns across Data, AI, and Cloud to accelerate your integration of IBM technology! Login to check your account credit on your IBM Cloud Account (account > billing > invoices). For support, visit IBM Cloud support. “Talk to an Expert” is the easiest way of getting any issue resolved!|
Need access to our 24/7 support? Contact our Technical and Sales Engineering teams by simply opening a ticket via the portal under “Support.” View the IBM Cloud Catalog. Learn more about IBM Cloud (Infrastructure).
The Startup with IBM Team
The bad news is that within few days, this credit was reversed on the ground of not meeting the criteria. Although the exact reason was not given, still I understand it was because we were not aligned with their list of accelerators/incubators. While applying, the form for the IBM startup credit is still submitted even if you ignore this field by just selecting one random option from the list of accelerators/incubators (unfair thing to do).
5. Oracle cloud
Oracle is providing a free trial and credit (expire after 730 days) to all new signups.
Oracle Cloud too has a free, forever tier. Oracle has inherent expertise in database technology that is part and parcel of any hosting experience.
Right now, they are also selectively offering free migration, something not available with AWS, Microsoft Azure or IBM.
For startups and developers, a better way to initiate a relationship with Oracle Cloud is to signup for Oracle for Startups program.
(For easy access to links, pasting the content of the email below)
Welcome to Oracle for Startups! I’ll be acting as your primary point of contact during this part of the program – I’m here to help, so please reach out to me directly if you have any questions. As a starting point, please create a profile for your company in our Startup Portal here:
Through the Startup Portal, you can do the following:
- Request for migration support
- Request additional cloud credits
- Level up for access to marketing and customers
- Request a meeting with an Oracle mentor
- Access videos, success stories and technical documentation
Additionally, here are a few resources you might find helpful as you start to build on Oracle Cloud:
Oracle for Startups – North America
Although we did not use Oracle Cloud till now, our experience with Oracle for Startups somewhat resonates with this somewhat negative review. Despite tall claims, of mentorship under the program, we could not spot any mentor.
6. Google cloud
Earlier Google Cloud had a startup program ‘designed for early-stage companies backed by a select group of Google Cloud for Startups investors (VC, incubator, or accelerator) and minimum viable product.’
As mentioned on the above email, “We unfortunately are not able to accept your application at this time, since our program is less applicable for small businesses, consultancies, and agencies solely providing services. We also cannot accept blogs, devshops, educational institutions, government entities, nonprofits, or cryptomining companies.” This actually is true for many other startup programs by technology companies.
The possibility remains, “If your product is in stealth mode, we recommend reapplying at cloud.google.com/startup when you have more materials for our team to review.”
Like with other cloud technology service providers, there are multiple ways to grow if not approved for the startup programs. For Google Cloud, “Additionally, here are some other credit opportunities and helpful content as you consider building on GCP:
- If you’re part of an accredited educational institution, check out the Google Cloud for Education program to apply for research credit or a faculty grant.
- Join the Google Cloud Developer community and GCP Community to stay in the loop on product updates and special events.
- Explore Cloud Platform documentation for solutions and best practices.”
Irrespective of whether you actually apply for the Google Startup Program and get approved, I believe the resource https://startup.google.com/ is worthy for all startups, freelancers, web developers, small businesses willing to go online.
Comprehensive guide to how Google Cloud can support your startup’s innovation and growth.
Update: 15 June 2022
Pre-funding startups now covered by the Google for Startups Cloud Program (Source: Google Startup Newsletter dated 15 June 2022)
|Bootstrapped or pre-funding startups are now covered by the Google for Startups Cloud Program|
|While we’ve had great response to our updated Google for Startups Cloud program, one of the big things we were hearing from customers was how they could get more support earlier in their journey, ahead of raising venture funding. Our mission is to enable all startups to build, grow, and scale on Google Cloud regardless of where they are in their journey, and at the Google Cloud Startup Summit on June 2nd we announced that the Google for Startups Cloud Program is now supporting bootstrapped startups.|
We will now be offering all startups that meet some basic eligibility criteria $2,000 USD in Google Cloud Credits to be spent over 2 years. If you’re interested, go to our application page and fill out the form using the instructions at the top.