There is a lot of talk in the technology sector about how to support scale, the growth of companies introducing new products, innovations and industries. At Microsoft for Startups and OneEleven, we believe in scaling great ideas and great ambitions. But we also know that some technology founders face barriers to achieving their potential, despite the impactful solutions they’re developing and massive market opportunities they represent. And so, this May, we joined forces on a special event to transform talk into action, with the mandate of propelling the scale of some underrepresented founders. Together, we identified six companies doing difficult and important things, through the products they’re developing and the systemic barriers their founders face. Six Degrees of Difficulty was an invitation-only showcase where each founder outlined the challenge, opportunity, and tactical support they need to rapidly scale. The audience was then asked to take one action — in the form of introductions, access or amplification — on behalf of each presenting company. This event was just one small piece of a newly minted partnership between OneEleven and Microsoft for Startups , a strategic alignment to bring MFS expertise to a community of more than 50 fast growing technology companies. Our work together will leverage our aligned commitment to scaling high promise startups by deploying creative, tactical actions designed to meaningfully propel their growth. This partnership will Deliver the benefits of the Microsoft for Startups offer to eligible OneEleven members, including up to $120,000 in free Azure credits, enterprise grade technical support and development tools as well as dedicated resources to prepare marketing and sales teams to effectively sell their cloud solutions to enterprise organizations in partnership with Microsoft’s global sales organization and partner ecosystem. It will also bring MFS qualified programs, advisory and support into OneEleven’s 100,000 square foot Toronto facility and drive our collective efforts to improve diversity, inclusion and underrepresented founders, including the continuation and expansion of our Six Degrees of Difficulty series. Together, we will host quarterly dinner series for CTOs, not just in our community but across the ecosystem, helping the technical backbone of the sector problem solve and trouble shoot together. MFS will also help mentor our incoming founders, providing 1:1 office hours for entrepreneurs to meet with Microsoft experts and tailor discussion to navigate their immediate pressures and needs across strategy, technology and business topics. Scaling’s not easy, whether you’re building a company, an ecosystem or a partnership. But together, we’re excited to help propel the growth of OneEleven’s diverse and ambitious membership.