This is a low risk method to find the next "Cisco" or "Dell". By offering support now, IBM can expect long term customer relationships with those few companies that become superstars in their markets, or decide to acquire ones that are within the trajectory of IBM's overall growth strategy.
It seems to me that this is a very unusual approach, that is, for a big company such as IBM to be establishing relationships with small companies with the purpose of becoming partners. I see it as IBM trying to become the head of a big octopus and the small start-ups the end at its tentacles. Seems that IBM wants to become a big provider of software solutions. And just after reading about the new CEO and that their aim is to make 50% of their profit out from software sales confirms this.