Yesterday, Microsoft announced the availability of a new program for Web Professionals called Microsoft WebsiteSpark.

As the latest initiative in the ‘Spark’ family of programs, including BizSpark and DreamSpark, Microsoft is building upon a legacy of working with key communities and providing the additional support, tools and resources needed in order to help them thrive. The WebsiteSpark Program provides Web professionals with Microsoft software and solutions, together with related tools, training and support, to help their businesses succeed. The WebsiteSpark Program also helps drive new business opportunities by connecting Web professionals and hosters with an ecosystem of customers, partners and other professionals with complementary technologies.

Web development and design companies with up to 10 employees and owners can participate in the WebsiteSpark Program for three years with no up-front cost. There is only a $100 program offering fee, payable at exit, with no other costs or obligations. Once approved, these companies can have access to:

  • Microsoft Web design and development tools
    • 3 licenses of Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition
    • 1 license of Microsoft Expression Studio 3 (which includes Expression Blend, Sketchflow, and Web)
    • 2 licenses of Microsoft Expression Web 3
  • Microsoft Servers
    • 4 processor licenses for production usage of Microsoft Windows Web Server 2008 or R2 (when available)
    • 4 processor licenses for production usage of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Web Edition.
  • A third-party premium Website control panel (DotNetPanel).

Participating companies will also receive the following professional support and training:

  • Two technical support incidents per company.
  • Access to community support through connections with Network Partners, Hosting Partners and peers with complementary services and technologies.
  • Unlimited access to technical managed newsgroups on MSDN.
  • Unlimited program support for non-technical issues.

In addition to software, solutions, training and support, the program will extend the reach of participating companies by featuring their offerings in a WebsiteSpark marketplace, supported by Microsoft marketing vehicles. This marketplace will help participating companies connect with new prospective customers worldwide via the WebsiteSpark Marketplace, coming later this fall.

How to Sign Up?

If you meet the requirements (build web sites and web applications and have less than 10 employees) you can visit the WebsiteSpark website and sign-up today. 

As part of the enrollment process you can pick either a network referral partner (for example: a hoster or an existing Microsoft partner), or enter a referral code that you have received at an event or from a Microsoft employee.  If you send mail to you can get a referral code quickly.  You can then use that code to enroll in the program on the WebsiteSpark website.  Once enrolled you can immediately download and use the software, as well as begin to participate in the network/partner opportunities.