Microsoft commits to helping local start-ups 

Last year almost 660,000 companies were established in the UK. Scale-ups and start-ups benefit from experts or experienced mentors to guide them, which is why Microsoft has partnered with the Innovation Catalyst partnership to enable Microsoft’s senior executives to mentor and work with businesses in the local Berkshire community.

Innovation Catalyst is a business incubation programme based in Reading. It is a collaboration between VitalSix, Thames Valley Science Park, Barclays Eagle Labs and Henley Business School. Its aim is help businesses to start and scale up, while taking advantages of cross-collaboration, mentoring, workshops, and other events. 

“Innovation Catalyst was founded to make a difference in helping to bring to life new ideas and support scale up businesses to go further, faster,” says Susan Elliott, Managing Director of VitalSix Ltd. 

Microsoft executives will be matched with a start-up or early stage business during the launch event on 17 October at Thames Valley Science Park. They will offer business a mix of their technical, and subject specific knowledge and support alongside a programme of Microsoft-led events and other Innovation Catalyst events. 

The mentors include: 

Andrew Bentley - ISV & AI Recruit Director 

Siddhartha Chaturvedi - Senior Partner Development Manager, Healthcare and Life Sciences  

Lee Corbett - AI Partner Recruit Lead 

Richard Ellis - Small, Medium & Corporate Leader 

Iwan Evans - Customer Programs Director 

Lisa MacDonald – Partner Market Advisor 

Nick Page – Start-up Partnerships Director 

Yvonne Puley - SMB Channel Strategy Lead 

Alison Wright - SMB Azure Customer Lead 


Microsoft also has extra programmes to help grow, build, and connect startups, with a commitment of $500 million to Microsoft For startups globally. Microsoft for Startups provides technical, product, and go-to-market benefits to accelerate startup growth. 

As the strategic venture capital investment team, M12 focuses on startups who are building the next generation of technology such as AI, cloud, big data, and analytics. 

ScaleUp is an immersive program with sales, marketing, and technical support, helping startups hone their infrastructure and build their businesses. 

Reactor London is a community space staffed by technical and event experts based in Shoreditch, London. Its aim is to create a place where entrepreneurs, developers, investors, and the wider community can come together to interact, learn, and share.  

We’ll stay updated with the mentors and startups from Innovation Catalyst as they take on their journey, so keep an eye out for an inside look as they grow. 


Find out more 

Microsoft for startups 

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