I’d don’t know about you, but if I hadn’t gotten a couple of small, key scholarships, I would not have gone to college. It wasn’t just the money – it was having someone real tell me that, yes, I should be in college that made a huge difference. When you’re doing something new, different and scary, getting that kind of validation matters.
That’s why I’m very pleased to say there’s not 1, or 2 but 3 different scholarship programs running right now at StartupToDo.com. Like scholarships in the academic world, each of the sponsors decide eligibility, but they all share a real desire to see more startups succeed.
OnStartups.com – (See this post at OnStartups.com for details). Dharmesh Shah and Jason Cohen – the cofounders of Answers.Onstartups.com – are giving away 20 six-month scholarships to StartupToDo.com. Dharmesh’s day job just happens to be creating and running HubSpot.com, a startup that has raised $33.5 million in VC money in the past year and a half. Jason, of the A Smart Bear blog and founder of Smart Bear Software, is known for his insightful posts on many startup topics. They guys have plenty on their plate. But it matters to them your startup succeeds.
Atomic Object – (see this page at Atomic Object). It’s easy for people in California in general and Silicon Valley in particular to scoff at the IT/startup communities in “flyover” country like Grand Rapids, Michigan. Easy and oh so wrong.
Software development companies like Atomic Object roll up their sleeves and get the job done right for global companies, and in the process move their communities from light-industrial to heavyweight post-industrial and a great place to live. Carl Erickson, President of Atomic Object, isn’t just thinking about getting the job done for AO’s many clients, he’s thinking about how to grow and nurture the west Michigan IT/Startup hub. That’s one of the reasons AO is sponsoring 20 Michigan-based startup founders to be part of StartupToDo.com.
Microsoft WebsiteSpark – (see this page for details) Speaking of scoffing at, let me just come out and say that all too many people in our industry profile Microsoft as the big, bad corporate wolf. Bull. Like every other company and organization, Microsoft is the net effort of the people who work there now, not what it was in the past.
That’s why Jacob Mullins, who runs WebsiteSpark in the U.S. anted up 130 six-month free StartupToDo.com scholarships for budding startup founders who’s day job is building web sites for clients. And it’s people like Midori Lawler, Ludovic Ulrich (and before him, Julien Codorniou) and Tom Halabi who are the reason Microsoft BizSpark exists and why I’ve volunteered my time to help 392 startups to date join BizSpark in the last 18 months.
As you read this, whether you’re the CEO of a software company with 10,000 employees or you are it, I’d encourage you to find a way to help other IT startups get off the ground. Whether that’s sponsoring scholarships at StartupToDo.com, bringing on a summer intern (I’ve got someone for you if you’re interested), being a sponsor of a startup event in your geographic area, you can make a huge difference. And if you’re not making a difference in this world, what are you doing?

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