The new Microsoft Innovation Center (MIC) has officially opened in the historic Flatiron building in Downtown. The new center will work with the city’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI) to provide development software, coaching and grants to selected women entrepreneurs.
“The City of Atlanta is proud to be the home of the nation’s second Microsoft Innovation Center,” said Mayor Kasim Reed during the ribbon cutting event. “Ensuring that our entrepreneurs have the right tools and resources to start and grow their businesses is essential. The Microsoft Innovation Center will be a vital asset to our Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative and will empower entrepreneurs to create well-paying jobs and strengthen our economy.”
The MIC is a result of the CityNext Digital Alliance between Microsoft Corp. and the City of Atlanta, which is part of Microsoft’s broader CityNext initative. The alliance focuses on increasing access to Microsoft software and technology support for citizens—with an emphasis on K–20 education, student entrepreneurs, software startups and job seekers. It supports the local economy through increased digital literacy, career readiness and services for accelerating innovation.
“We aim to foster innovation, collaboration and economic growth in local communities as an inherent piece of our culture and look forward to expanding our work in the Atlanta community,” said Judson Althoff, president of North America at Microsoft. “The MIC will allow us to provide training and resources to thousands of members of the technology, education and business communities; help hundreds of businesses grow; and host countless learning and networking events.”
“We envision the MIC at FlatrionCity becoming a destination for entrepreneurs, academia and corporations,” said Arun Nijhawan, Managing Principal for Lucror Resources. “A place for people with diverse backgrounds to meet, exchange ideas, leverage their respective strengths and truly innovate. We see each feature of the MIC, whether it be the Hololens or cloud based services, as assets for Atlanta’s vibrant entrepreneurial community, as well as for its established industry players.”
The MIC is part of Microsoft’s broader strategy to empower developers and entrepreneurs worldwide, which is a key commitment for the company. Microsoft’s commitment to the developer community extends far beyond Atlanta, from helping 100,000 startups and 1,500 partners from more than 100 countries through its BizSpark initiative, to building seven accelerators throughout the world as part of Microsoft Ventures. Microsoft is able to help startups scale their business with a variety of technologies and services like cloud computing, developer tools, software and open source technologies.
The WEI initiative was launched earlier this year to serve as an incubator for women entrepreneurs and will provide resources and support to accelerate business growth, expand community outreach, offer educational workshops and mentorship engagement, provide legal advice and assist with marketing efforts. Through a competitive selection process, a maximum of 15 women entrepreneurs will be selected to incubate their business at the WEI.