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AWS 100k Credit-Guide for Startups and Entrepreneurs

AWS 100k Credit-Guide for Startups and Entrepreneurs

AWS Activate is designed to support startups and early-stage companies by providing them with resources, technical support, training, and up to $100,000 in AWS credits. These credits can be used for various AWS services, including computing power, storage, databases, machine learning, and more. AWS Activate has two primary packages:

  1. AWS Activate Founders: Targeted at early-stage startups with no institutional funding.
  2. AWS Activate Portfolio: For startups affiliated with AWS Activate Providers, such as venture capital firms, accelerators, incubators, and other startup-enabling organizations.

Benefits of AWS Activate

AWS Activate offers a multitude of benefits beyond just credits:

  • Technical Support: Access to AWS Support for technical guidance and troubleshooting.
  • Training and Resources: Free access to training materials, tutorials, and whitepapers.
  • Business Support: Access to business development resources, including AWS partners and go-to-market strategies.
  • Exclusive Offers: Discounts and offers from third-party services integrated with AWS.

General Requirements

To be eligible for AWS Activate credits, startups typically need to meet certain criteria, which may vary slightly between the Founders and Portfolio packages:

  1. Startup Status: The applicant must be a startup or early-stage company.
  2. No Prior Funding (Founders): For the Founders package, startups should not have received institutional funding.
  3. Affiliation with AWS Activate Provider (Portfolio): For the Portfolio package, startups must be affiliated with an AWS Activate Provider.

AWS Activate Founders

  • Stage of Company: The startup should be in its early stages, often defined as having minimal to no funding.
  • Funding: The company should not have received any institutional funding (e.g., venture capital, accelerator, or incubator support).
  • AWS Usage: Existing usage of AWS should be minimal, usually less than $1,000 in the past year.

AWS Activate Portfolio

  • AWS Activate Provider Affiliation: The startup must be nominated or have a referral from an AWS Activate Provider. This includes accelerators, incubators, seed funds, and other startup-enabling organizations.
  • Stage and Funding: While this package is more flexible regarding funding stages, startups are typically required to be in early or growth stages.
  • AWS Usage: There may be limits on existing AWS usage, often less than $5,000 in the past year.

Application Process

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Eligibility Check: Ensure your startup meets the eligibility criteria for either the Founders or Portfolio package.
  2. Create an AWS Account: If you do not already have an AWS account, create one.
  3. Complete the Application Form: Fill out the AWS Activate application form, providing detailed information about your startup, including your business model, funding status, and AWS usage.
  4. Submit Supporting Documents: For the Portfolio package, obtain a referral or nomination letter from your AWS Activate Provider.
  5. Review and Submit: Carefully review your application and submit it for consideration.

Key Considerations

  • Accurate Information: Provide accurate and up-to-date information about your startup to avoid delays or rejection.
  • Provider Relationship: For the Portfolio package, maintaining a good relationship with your AWS Activate Provider can facilitate a smoother application process.

Maximizing AWS Credits

Strategic Planning

To make the most of your AWS credits, it is crucial to plan strategically:

  • Identify Key Services: Determine which AWS services will benefit your startup the most, such as EC2 for computing, S3 for storage, or RDS for databases.
  • Cost Management: Use AWS Cost Explorer to monitor your spending and ensure you are utilizing your credits efficiently.
  • Optimize Resources: Implement best practices for resource optimization, such as auto-scaling and using Reserved Instances for predictable workloads.

Technical Best Practices

  • Architecture Review: Conduct regular architecture reviews with AWS Solutions Architects to ensure your infrastructure is optimized.
  • Security and Compliance: Leverage AWS security tools and services to maintain compliance and protect your data.
  • Performance Monitoring: Use AWS CloudWatch and other monitoring tools to track performance and identify areas for improvement.

Leveraging Additional Resources

  • Training and Certifications: Take advantage of AWS training programs and certifications to build your team’s expertise.
  • AWS Marketplace: Explore third-party solutions in the AWS Marketplace that can enhance your operations.
  • Community and Support: Engage with the AWS community through forums, events, and meetups to gain insights and support from other users.

Common Challenges and Solutions


  1. Complexity of AWS Services: Navigating the vast array of AWS services can be overwhelming for startups.
  2. Cost Management: Without proper monitoring, startups may exhaust their credits quickly or incur unexpected charges.
  3. Technical Expertise: Lack of in-house technical expertise can hinder effective use of AWS services.


  1. AWS Training and Certification: Investing in AWS training programs and certifications can build the necessary expertise within the team.
  2. Cost Management Tools: Utilize AWS Cost Explorer and set up billing alerts to keep track of spending.
  3. AWS Solutions Architects: Engage with AWS Solutions Architects for architecture reviews and best practices to optimize infrastructure.


Unlocking $100,000 in AWS credits through the AWS Activate program can be a game-changer for startups, providing the financial support needed to innovate and scale efficiently. By understanding the program’s benefits, meeting the eligibility criteria, following a strategic application process, and maximizing the value of the credits, startups can leverage AWS’s powerful cloud services to drive their growth and success. Through careful planning, continuous learning, and leveraging AWS’s extensive support resources, startups can transform their visions into reality, overcoming technical and financial hurdles along the way.

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