The event starts at 3:30pm on May 29 and will be presided over by senior officials from Startup Village and Microsoft. Details of the programme are available on http://www.microsoft.com/india/bizsparkstartupchallenge/ and those interested in attending the event may email Startup Village on firstname.lastname@example.org For the first time Kochi has been selected as one of 10 cities to host the challenge.
Winners of the regional rounds will go head-to-head in the national grand finale to be held in Bengaluru. The competition offers cash awards totalling 70,000 US dollars and non-cash prizes worth two million US dollars.
"Microsoft's choice of Startup Village as the host for the challenge is not just an acknowledgement of the tremendous strides we have made over the past one year, it also heralds the arrival of Kochi on India's entrepreneurial map," says Mr. Sijo Kuruvilla George, CEO of Startup Village.
Microsoft had earlier chosen Profoundis, one of the companies being fostered by Startup Village, for its accelerator programme.
Mr. Sanjay Vijayakumar, Chairman of the Startup Village Board of Governors, said the event signifies the "growing prominence of Kochi and Kerala as a hub of innovative technology companies".
"This is a huge opportunity for the startups that are confident their products can create a buzz in the market. The basic objective of the challenge is to scout for a business plan that is innovative and has scalable market potential," he said.
Mr. Vijayakumar informed that three regional winners from Kochi would go on to the national challenge in Bengaluru. He invited all entrepreneurs and other stakeholders from Kerala's startup community to attend the event and take advantage of the opportunity.
The Microsoft BizSpark India Startup Challenge 2013 is open to all persons who are 18 years or older, citizens or legal residents in India, and are a part of BizSpark Community. Registered contestants will be required to present their business plans that include everything from market analysis to competitive overview and financial projections, before a high-profile jury.
The contestants will be evaluated based on the ingenuity, creativity and innovativeness of their business plan, its market potential and the management capabilities of the team.
Hyderabad, Kolkata New Delhi, Pune, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Coimbatore and Chennai are the other cities hosting the regional challenges which will be held over two weeks until June 7.
The winner, first runner up and second runner up at each regional challenge will receive $4000, $2000 and $1000 respectively, besides non-cash prizes. They will also receive support from Microsoft with their marketing and visibility, besides training and tech support on Windows 8, Windows Phone and Azure platforms.
The Grand Finale Winner will receive a Dell Latitude 10 Tablet, the first runner up will receive an Acer Iconia W510 Tablet and the second runner up will get a Windows Phone Nokia 920. Each will also get an Xbox 360 console.
Microsoft describes BizSpark as "a global program that helps software startups succeed by giving them access to Microsoft software development tools, connecting them with key industry players, including investors, and providing marketing visibility to help entrepreneurs starting a business".