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Microsoft is helping fund startups created by laid off smartphone workers in Finland

Microsoft may have laid off the vast majority of its smartphone workers in Finland that once worked at Nokia. However, the company has created a program called Polku that is aiming to assist those workers with finding new jobs or even helping to create startups.

ZDNet reports that Microsoft's Polku program began with the company's first big round of layoffs in mid-2015 and it has continues through the latest layoffs that were announced earlier this year. In addition to normal severance packages Microsoft efforts extend to helping some employees start their own companies:

This scheme, called Kipinä, 'a spark', offers coaching, lectures, equipment, and workspaces for those looking to start their own company. These startups can also be eligible for a grant of up to €60,000 ($67,000) per person or €240,000 ($26,900) per company depending on their business plan and employment potential.

Microsoft says that 100 startups have been given grants as part of this program. One of them is Quiske, which is creating a software tool that's designed to help increase the performance of competitive rowers:

Quiske CEO Kristina Björnäs spent 12 years at Microsoft and Nokia and started the company with four likeminded partners from among her former colleagues. "I'd have become an entrepreneur in any case. But without Microsoft's program I would have probably become a one-person company and focused on beekeeping or something. It's great to be able to do technology product development, which would not have been possible without Polku," Björknäs says.

Microsoft claims that 250 jobs have been created as a result of its startup grants in Finland, and that number is expected to double in the next 12 months.

36 Comments
  • That's a start.
  • Very generous of Microsoft. Those people are lucky to have been working for Microsoft instead of say a company like WAL-MART
  • Wow... just, wow.
  • To bad they didn't put all these resources into making the smartphone business work in the first place
  • They built a great platform. They made WONDERFUL devices for the platform. They PAID devs to come to the platform. Honest question: What more could you want them to do?  
  • Great point. Unrelated question... What is your avatar?
  • Yeah, it's kinda hard to interpret when it's tiny. Here:
  • Waiting for what comes next after "Here:"
  • Well I would ask for them to advertise the damn thing. They barely did any advertising for phones not named the Nokia Lumia 1020. They advertised the Surface line and it worked. Nobody will buy it if they haven't a clue it exists. Posted via the Windows Central App for Symbian
  • In retrospect, it was Steve Ballmers fault that windows fell so far behind in the smart phone market.  They could have purchased an os rather then spend the time developing windows phone 7 which was a dud.  They could have used the the Zune HD interface with a phone companion and been right there at the start with Android.  But instead, they ignored the market thinking it would mature slowly.  Ballmer screwed up and that is just a fact.  I am a MS brand loyalist and I have only Windows Phones, and I do think they are great but they are insignificant in the market and that hurts the brand when it comes to apps.  I don't have my bank, or Pokemon Go, or that Disney app that you use in the parks for fast passes and not having those three really tested my loyalty this year. The problem is, if they are not in the phone market, they can kiss the future goodbye - so they will stay and Windows phone will improve.  However, there is a whole lot of compelling reasons to leave and very few to stay.  I can only really see 2 ways out of this for MS.  Take the long term approach and make it so that moving between devices in all form factors is effortless as long as they are using Windows.  This is the path they seem to be taking, but when they release products for iOS or Android that work better on those devices then their own, it nullifies the reason for going 'all windows'.  The other is to come up with some sort of earth shattering tech that only they have.  If they could find a way for phones to work without a carrier at little or no monthly cost, then that would be a good enough reason for alot of people to move regardless of the app gap.  I hope they have something up their sleeve, because it's long past time to start focusing on phones.
  • Good to see. Looking forward now to move on from smartphones and into the new era of pcs with phones in your hand. Running full windows 10 and x86 architecture. Goodbye useless ARM OS of any type.
  • Not gonna happen. There's no x86 mobile chipset to make that possible in the foreseeable future so let it go.
  • It's a strong possibility it could happen. Look at what HP has done with their Elite WP. Heck 30 yrs ago many didn't believe it was possible to have the tech we have now with these hand held phones
  • I disagree in a way. Continuum could lead to a x32 phone but I see if being dock side with usb c. I'm not saying it's going to happen but it could and if the surface team are creating a surface phone then this might be the next jump for windows phone.
  • I couldn't agree more... Maybe a move to remove competition.
  • ?
  • !
  • In my lumia 540 when i connect wifi it is showing no internet . But others getting net from the same wifi.. Help me.. What i do??
  • Brother, don't you think that's a bit off topic?
  • Restart your phone or the router...I happens it normal...all phones go through this Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Too bad there's not a forum where you could post such questions.
  • Soft resetting May help you
  • They should also help the Japan Co. that has that campaign on kickstarter
  • This is a nice gesture by microsoft.
  • I'm pretty sure the layoffs' got a nice severance package. I don't know though why MS doesn't branch off and sell their mobile hardware division. Rather than "retrenching" it. Ideally they could have a company making phones that can run android or windows. That company could also offer the tools for customers to re-flash their phone to the OS of choice. The biggest problem I see with WP adoption is the "unknown". With mobiles, it's not like you can just try out a phone, you are stuck with it for 2 years from most peoples perspective. After a few weeks with WP, it becomes quite homely and makes more sense as a phone OS than android. To me, android feels 5 years old and outdated. People bang on about WP being buggy, have they ever used an android phone? Buggier than a meerkats lunch! Anyway. End of moan.
  • So said the fox when could not get to the grapes: oh, they are so sour! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Sour grapes? Sounds like he has walked the miles in Android shoes, so I don't think so. Same with me. I've used an iPhone 6 daily for about 2yrs-not by choice. Used Android on an HTC whatever for a few months. Now I'm back to WM with the 950XL. Yes, there's still an app gap, but those other UIs are just plain awful.
  • fires you takes full ownership of startup thanks?
  • I'd say this is nice on Microsoft's behalf but considering the promises they made the Fins when they bought the D&S division and then, as it would be obvious, broke... I say they're just trying to clean up their image. But hey, start ups in Finland often end up in cool projects so there's a silver lining there. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Cyan, yellow, white, pumpkin and lime green lining.
  • Don't forget the purple, red, gold, platinum, bronze, and diamond lining.
  • they are all just going to go back to work for NOKIA not MICROKIA....They are going to pump out AWESOME phones that KILL anything that MS or any of their OEMS can do.  All while using Ms money to do it!
  • I love windows phone
  • Awesome,  Your love will last approx.  6 more months until its' totally shitcanned.
  • If I was a laid off ms employee I would take the kickstarter money and make a company called F&^K microsoft.  ha ha.
  • Very nice.