IBM has announced a new program called "Global Entrepreneur Initiative," designed to encourage small start-up companies to join the team, learn from some of IBM's best people and research, and help grow the companies that may some day be officially under IBM's corporate portfolio. The new program gives new companies the ability to access IBM's extensive research network, will offer marketing services, and help with product development. Additionally, employees at these start-up companies can attend IBM educational seminars and tap into a global network of thousands of IBM's partners and contractors. It's the company's way of fostering and encouraging new creative ideas from participating start-ups. Nearly 20 organizations and a bunch of venture capitalists are on board to make the Global Entrepreneur Initiative a success. To qualify, a company must be less than 3 years old and have a focus that's in line with one of IBM's divisions. They can stay in the program for up to 3 years, after which time, IBM hopes, they will become lifelong IBM partners. In a statement, analyst Michael Cote said, "IBM is looking to encourage the whole 'Internet of Things' vision, which pragmatically means just getting software and networking enabled on as many devices in the world as possible. Think TVs, medical equipment, power meters, sewage control valves, et cetera, which extends IT, and thus IBM's market, into 'everything."