Microsoft Launches YouthSpark in India

New Delhi, Delhi, India, Wednesday, November 28, 2012 -- (Business Wire India) 
-- NGO grants worth $350,000 to empower youth announced 
-- Companywide initiative will impact 300 million youth globally in more than
100 countries over the next three years 
Microsoft Corporation India Pvt Ltd today gave the first indication of the
impact its newly launched global initiative Microsoft YouthSpark, will have in
India, announcing the award of cash grants worth 350,000 USD for Indian NGOs for
the year 2012-13. Two local NGO's, Aide ét Action and Aga Khan Rural Support
Program, were allocated 250,000 USD for the year, in support of their work with
youth. The company-wide initiative will aim to create opportunities for 300
million youth in more than 100 countries over the next three years.  
The announcement also included the launch of the first YouthSpark centre in
Delhi, the first of 10 such centres across the country, that will work with
underprivileged youth aged 16 to 24, offering training on basic IT skills,
spoken English, personality development and job preparedness. Each centre will
focus on one trade led enterprise - like IT-enabled services, retail,
hospitality, automobiles etc. - and from each batch of students, a select few
will be trained in a simulated set-up, and encouraged to start their own group
enterprises. This partnership with Aide ét Action, the first grant installment
for which was announced today, will aim to train 80,000 youth over three years.
Of these youth, 65,000 will be aided in finding employment, and 15,000 in
starting their own enterprises.  
The launch of YouthSpark comes as a response to research highlighting that the
world's youth faces a new divide – an opportunity divide, which will have a
profound impact on their livelihoods. The International Youth Foundation
Opportunity for Action report, published in March 2012, showed that nearly 75
million young people worldwide were unemployed in 2011, with 9.9 percent in
South Asia. The report documents that about 20 percent of India's population, or
about 240 million people, are youth aged 15 to 24 with data from the Labour
Bureau of India identifying unemployment rates in India at 3.8 percent. 
YouthSpark will build on the company's existing philanthropy programs that
empower youth to imagine and realize their full potential by connecting them
with greater opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship by 
1) empowering youth by helping strengthen education and expand digital
2) unleashing future innovators by giving youth the inspiration and tools to
imagine new opportunities; and  
3) helping youth realize new opportunities of employability and
These three core objectives will be powered through a number of targeted
programs driven through partnerships with governments, non-profit organizations,
and businesses aimed at empowering youth to imagine and realize their full
Speaking on-site at the first YouthSpark centre, hosted in conjunction with NGO
Aide ét Action in New Delhi, Jean-Philippe Courtois, President, Microsoft
International, said, "I am very proud to be part of the launch of this first
Microsoft YouthSpark Center right here in Delhi. I am even more pleased that
this is the first of 10 such centers we plan across this great country over the
next 18 months as we continue to find new ways to help empower our youth to
change their world: to be the spark of change. We expect this YouthSpark center
will allow 80,000 youth to be trained over three years – of which we expect
65,000 to find employment through placement drives and alliances with potential
employers - and 15,000 to start their own enterprises. This is the core goal of
YouthSpark: helping youth access a wide range of Microsoft programs with the
common goal of supporting and serving young people in their quest for
YouthSpark builds on well-established programs such as Project Shiksha, Project
Jyoti, BizSpark, Imagine Cup and DreamSpark which together have empowered
millions of Indians over eight years. Through Microsoft YouthSpark, the company
will dedicate its efforts and a majority of its cash contributions to create
opportunities for young people.  
“With the Government of India setting the target of skilling 500 million
people by the year 2022, nurturing employability and the spirit of
entrepreneurship amongst youth has never been more imperative” said Sanket
Akerkar, Managing Director, Microsoft Corporation India Pvt Ltd. “Taking a cue
from India's proposed 12th Five Year Plan that sees education ‘as the single
most important instrument of social and economic transformation ', we are trying
create effective mechanisms to support organizations that help in skill-building
and empower future communities.”  
More information about YouthSpark can be found on Microsoft YouthSpark Hub, an
online space where people can explore and access all of the youth services,
programs and resources provided by Microsoft and its non-profit partners.  
About Microsoft India 
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software
for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products
and services designed to empower people through great software - any time, any
place and on any device. Microsoft Corporation (India) Pvt Ltd. Ltd is a
subsidiary of Microsoft Corporation, USA. It has had a presence in India since
1990 and currently has offices in nine cities - Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai,
Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi and Pune.  
To view the photographs, please click on the links given below: 
Jean Philippe Courtois interacts with youth beneficiaries at Aide et Action 
Jean Philippe Courtois(centre) and Sanket Akerkar(right) at the YouthSpark
Media contact details 
Varnica Singh, Senior Management Associate,
IPAN Hill + Knowlton Strategies,
+91 9971005543, 
Gopika Gulati, Senior Management Associate,
IPAN Hill + Knowlton Strategies,
+91 9871171998, 
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-0- Nov/29/2012 05:10 GMT
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