Inc. dropped by Toronto to remind Canadian startups about some of the free access to its platform they can take advantage of, and pile of some new freebies too – but like many free offers, it’s for a limited time only.

The Salesforce for Startups program is now online in Canada. It invites entrepreneurs to take advantage of one of the world’s most-used business-to-business software platforms, provided by the San Francisco-based company that started with cloud CRM and has grown to offer solutions to just about every line of business under the sun. Now Salesforce wants to grow the awareness of its products among technology-based startups, says Ludo Ultrich, head of startup relations at Salesforce.

“We’re trying to unlock the potential of Canadian entrepreneurs and see how they can leverage what we have to offer,” he says. “One of the key parts of this program is making it easier to start.”

Startups will be pointed to Salesforce’s development platform – a combination of the Salesforce1 mobile development environment and Heroku, a cloud platform that supports several popular programming languages that was acquired in 2010.

Development tools offered by Salesforce are normally free anyway, but the startups program does bring some added value to the table for startups. In addition to one full year of customer service software, Salesforce for Startups provides a startup-friendly version of its popular CRM platform and other resources to help them get started.

“Word of mouth is going to be critical” for startups to grow their business, Ultrich says. “So customer service is important… you know what, you have no choice, you need to have awesome customer service.”

Salesforce will also be partnering with Waterloo, Ont.-based accelerator Communitech to contribute resources and membership to its constituents.

Canadian companies can start signing up for the Salesforce for Startups today. Ultrich says the criteria for becoming a member is flexible.



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