21 November 2006

Now Microsoft signs up

Microsoft is the latest addition to join the list of sponsors behind EEDA’s highly popular ‘Running the Gauntlet’ competition for regional entrepreneurs.
Microsoft Research in Cambridge has promised to give up to £50,000 worth of advice and support to a wide range of companies irrespective of their progress through the competition. 
The seminars and workshops will cover a range of key service areas from marketing, sales and management to business productivity and technology. 
Microsoft’s support brings the value of in-kind services available to entrants to around £300,000.
EEDA’s chairman, Richard Ellis, said:” Partnering with Microsoft as a sponsor of ‘Running the Gauntlet’ is really exciting news.  Microsoft brings a wealth of experience and commitment to the table that will make a real and practical difference to all our entrants.
“The wide ranging package of advice and support they are offering further enhances the learning opportunity available to our entrepreneurs and underpins the exceptional value of the wider ‘running the gauntlet programme’.  This is great news for our entrants.”
‘Running the Gauntlet’ is led by EEDA in partnership with CREATE, a leading investor in businesses in the East of England, and Library House, the authority on privately held high growth companies in the UK.
Up to £1m of investment funding and a comprehensive learning programme is available to entrants thanks to co-sponsors Bailey Fisher Executive Search, Grant Thornton, HSBC, Mudhut Communication, Scientific Generics, Taylor Vinters and The Commercialisation Company.
Gordon Frazer, managing director of Microsoft UK said: “At Microsoft we see innovation as a platform for global competition and growth. New and innovative businesses are a key part  of the UK’s economy and prosperity and as an organisation we want to support them in any way we can.”
“Partnering Idea’s ‘running the gauntlet’ competition gives us an excellent opportunity to share our experience and collaborate with a new trance of entrepreneurs.” 
The 50 companies short-listed in ‘running the gauntlet’ last month pitched to investor/judges on 18 October and the ten strongest investment propositions were announced on 1 November. The final winners will be unveiled at EEDA’s Ideas Exchange on 14 November.
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