It’s no secret that SolidWorks is still among the most widely-used CAD applications in the product design industry. Yet despite its widespread use and popularity, a number of alternative CAD offerings have been coming out of the woodwork within the past few years that leverage cost (oftentimes in a freemium or monthly subscription business model) as one of their top selling points.

Needless to say, when it comes to bootstrap startups who are counting each and every penny to get their product to market, SolidWorks (which can cost anywhere from the mid to high four-figures) isn’t always a feasible choice.

In an effort to help ease this process for hardware startups, Dassault Systèmes is announcing today the launch of their new SolidWorks for Entrepreneurs Program which will give early-stage startups ‘free’ access to a complete license of the same software used by existing design and engineering professionals and competitors within the product design community.

Known for its robust and (most of the time) reliable features for the design and manufacturing process, the use of SolidWorks early in the stages of product development will help ensure stable product design, mechanical engineering, simulation, publishing, data management and environmental impact assessment that can help accelerate design and manufacturing processes, while saving production time and costs.

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Unsurprisingly, the decision is partly driven by an increase of ‘Makers’ who are graduating from ‘Making’ to actual product development.

“Today’s Maker Movement is helping quickly convert concepts from independent engineers and designers into innovative, successful small businesses,” said Gian Paolo Bassi, CEO, SolidWorks, Dassault Systèmes.

“The next generation of entrepreneurs need the proper business and product design and development tools to grow. The SolidWorks for Entrepreneurs Program demonstrates our commitment to helping engineers bring their innovations and design concepts to reality by providing SolidWorks’ full suite of capabilities to easily design and manufacture products quickly.”


This isn’t the first time that Dassault Systèmes has provided SolidWorks to startups, nonprofits and incubators, however it is the first time that the company has established a formal program to make it easier for startups to request a license.

Although an application fee of $200 is required for each startup (likely to filter freeloaders), 80 percent goes back to support the Rwanda High School Girls Scholarship Program that funds educational initiatives for female students at the ETO Gitarama/Nyanza Technical School.

Interested users can expect a program site to launch soon.

Update: The SolidWorks for Entrepreneur site is now live.


Simon is a Brooklyn-based industrial designer and Managing Editor of EVD Media. When he finds the time to design, his focus is on helping startups develop branding and design solutions to realize their product design vision. In addition to his work at Nike and various other clients, he is the main reason anything gets done at EvD Media. He once wrestled an Alaskan alligator buzzard to the ground with his bare hands… to rescue Josh.