It's been a busy week over at Microsoft. As well as announcing its plans to create 1,000 new apprenticeships over the next three years, the company has launched its brand new Microsoft Small Business Centre.
Aimed at small companies, the portal provides information on how small firms can get the most out of Microsoft's products, as well as guides and resources for small firms on areas such as cloud computing, scaling up their IT and keeping data secure. The website also contains lots of small business news and blogs, not to mention free antivirus software and free trials of Microsoft products.
Microsoft said the new site was part of its efforts to simplify its current small business offering (UK government, take note) to make its products and services more accessible and in recognition of the fact that the needs of small companies differ significantly to those of larger enterprises.
This is the latest in a number of Microsoft initiatives aimed at supporting start-ups and small businesses. Previous efforts include Microsoft Office Live - which offers free business websites to start-ups - and BizSpark, a scheme that provides early-stage firms with access to software development tools and platforms, as well as more than 2,000 BizSpark network partners, including university incubators, government agencies, investors and consultants. There is now an online community of more than 35,000 start-ups enrolled in the programme.