Amazon Activate Web Services (AWS) and SEAS Entrepreneurship have partnered to provide students, staff, and faculty interested in starting web-based business ventures free tools to do so. AWS provides web services, commonly known as cloud computing, which are on-demand IT resources. Cloud computing helps many startups launch without investing in costly infrastructure, and it is the backbone of many of today’s most popular sites including Netflix and Pinterest. The Activate program offers the following benefits to new Columbia startups, and those that have not raised more than $1.5 million in funding. 

You will be eligible for:

Activate @ Columbia is supported and managed by SEAS  Entrepreneurship. For more about the program please contact Ivy Schultz at For more information on AWS see: that services are offered to startups, and should not be used for personal websites or any work unrelated to the startup.



“How long does it take to process applications?”
Once your companies apply for AWS Activate, it will take around 2 weeks for the application to be processed. If the information you provide is not up-to-date or incomplete, processing can take up to 1 month.

“Who is eligible for the program?”        
Current students, staff, and faculty who are seeking to develop a web-based business.

“My idea is just on the back of an envelope. Am I eligible?”        
Yes.  But the credits are only good for 1 year.  You may want to wait to apply until you are ready to begin work.  

“My business is already up and running and selling stuff. Am I eligible?”        
Yes.  The only requirement is that companies have less than $1.5 million in funding.

“Can I use this program to host my personal web site?”        
No, the goal of the Activate program is to support the creation of web-based companies (e.g., Google, Facebook, Amazon)

“Will you be providing training?”          
Currently, we do not offer training on AWS.  However, once accepted into the program there is web-based training available.  There are also internal resources at Columbia like ADI (Application Development Initiative), , which may provide training.

“Can I use AWS for my department or school or anything related to Columbia University?”        
No.  This program is for personal use only.  

“How long is the application process?”        
It will take about 3 minutes to fill out the application. 

“Why do you want information about my company/team?”        
This program is supported by a grant from New York State to help companies form and grow.  This information will enable us to continue to provide services like this to entrepreneurs like you.

“What if my company fails?  Is there any penalty?”        
There are no penalties.  We hope you will re-apply when your next company is formed.

“Is there any cost?”        

“Do I have to sign any contracts?”        

“Do you take an equity position in my company?”