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Small Business Specialist requirements

Join the Small Business Specialist Community

Become a Microsoft Small Business Specialist to gain access to tools, internal-use software rights, incentives, and resources to help you build a thriving practice focused on the needs of small businesses.

Upcoming changes

The launch of the Microsoft Small Business competency in June 2012 is bringing changes to the Small Business Specialist Community. For a period of time, at least 12 months from the launch of the Small Business competency, the Small Business Specialist Community will continue to operate in its current form, and members of the community will continue to have access to program benefits and the SBSC logo.  The Small Business Specialist Community will make the transition to become a Microsoft Partner Network partner-to-partner community, at some point after June 2013. There will be no programmatic requirements to join the community; however, there will be fewer benefits compared to the current Small Business Specialist Community offering. More details on this transition will be communicated as soon as they are available.

Get started

Eligibility for membership in the Small Business Specialist Community is determined by location, rather than by overall organization, and is verified accordingly. This means that your organization can be recognized for each location that meets the stated requirements. After it has been verified that all program requirements have been met, each location is automatically enrolled in the Small Business Specialist Community.

Individuals designated as administrators of your partner profile are notified each time a location becomes active in the community. You can view which of your locations have met the Small Business Specialist Community program requirements in the Partner Membership Center. Status definitions are displayed in your profile, under the Competency Summary tab.

1. Be an active member of the Microsoft Partner Network

Sign in to the Microsoft Partner Network website by using the the Microsoft ID and password that are linked  to your network membership.

2. Order a Microsoft Action Pack subscription

Choose the subscription that best matches your business focus: Microsoft Action Pack Solution Provider or Microsoft Action Pack Development and Design. You are exempt from this requirement if you have attained a silver or gold competency.

3. Pass the Small Business sales and marketing skills assessment

Each of your locations must employ or contract with one person who has passed the Small Business sales and marketing skills assessment for the Small Business Specialist Community.

4. Pass the qualifying exam

You must employ or contract with one Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP)* at each location who has passed one of the following exams:
  • Exam 70-169: TS: Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard, Configuring
  • Exam 70-410: Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012
  • Exam 70-480: Programming in HTML5 with JavaScript and CSS3
  • Exam 70-486: Developing ASP.NET 4.5 MVC Web Applications
  • Exam 70-515: TS: Web Applications Development with Microsoft .NET Framework 4
  • Exam 70-523: Upgrade: Transition Your MCPD .NET Framework 3.5 Web Developer Skills to MCPD .NET Framework 4.0 Web Developer
  • Exam 70-642: TS: Windows Server 2008, Network Infrastructure, Configuring
  • Exam 70-649: TS: Upgrading Your MCSE on Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008, Technology Specialist
  • Exam 70-653: TS: Windows Small Business Server 2008, Configuring
  • Exam 70-680: TS: Windows 7, Configuring
  • Exam 70-683: TS: Windows 7, Preinstalling for OEMs
  • Exam 70-687: Configuring Windows 8
To view your status for the MCP exam requirement:
  1. Go to the Partner Membership Center.
  2. Select the Orders & Benefits menu.
  3. Select Small Business Specialist Community Summary. This screen displays your status on each requirement. If someone has met the MCP requirement for a particular location of your company, and that person has associated his or her credentials with your company profile, this information will be displayed in the summary.

Qualifying for competencies 

If you are an active member in the Small Business Specialist Community, you do not automatically qualify for a Microsoft competency. If you would like to attain the higher status and additional benefits that a silver or gold competency offers, you must meet the requirements for that particular competency.

*By achieving a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS), Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP), Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD), Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS), Microsoft Certified Master (MCM), or Microsoft Certified Architect (MCA) certification, your employee or contractor qualifies as an MCP.