French minister Frederic Lefebvre and Microsoft on Saturday announced a partnership to cultivate promising Internet startups in France.
The US technology titan will work with the agency for the creation of enterprises (l'APCE) headed by Alain Belais to identify young French companies to join a Microsoft BizSpark program, Lefebvre said in a release.
The program will provide selected startups with Windows Azure storage capacity and free access to software offered by Microsoft as services in the Internet "cloud," according to Lefebvre.
French Internet startups with "high growth potential" will be eligible to get two years worth of online services from Microsoft.
The development of small and medium enterprises in vital "to support innovation, value creation and employment in France," according to Lefebvre.
Microsoft vice president for emerging business development Dan'l Lewin said in the release that the partnership fits with the Redmond, Washington-based company's strategy of cultivating technology startups around the world.
Explore further: Alibaba run-in with China regulator signals tougher scrutiny