Microsoft India organizes YouthSpark Live 2014 to mentor first time entrepreneurs and job seekers

Bengaluru, 21st May, 2014: Microsoft India today organized the first annual YouthSpark Live event in Bengaluru. Hosted in partnership with QUEST Alliance, YouthSpark Live is a two-day program to mentor first time entrepreneurs and job seekers. This year’s event helped young people explore careers in technology, hone their skills for 21st century jobs, and armed them with tools to kickstart their own entrepreneurial ventures. Close to 100 youth from 10 Indian states attended the event where they underwent two days of intensive training. Another 100 participated via webcast across 13 locations.

Keynoting at the event here today, Mr.Jean-Philippe Courtois, President, Microsoft International said, “Youth in India can drive positive economic and social impact, but there is a need to empower them with the relevant employability and entrepreneurial skills. At Microsoft, we have many initiatives to help young people succeed. Over the course of the last decade or so, Microsoft India has invested more than $100 million (INR 650 crores) in various initiatives to help young Indians realize their full potential. Microsoft is committed to taking Indian youth from the classroom to the boardroom.”

Talking about the global YouthSpark program to create opportunities for 300 million youth over three years, he further added: Through more than 30 programs, and partnerships with 186 youth-serving non-profits, in its first year alone Microsoft YouthSpark has created new opportunities for more than 103 million young people in over 100 countries around the world.”

At the event today, Mr. Courtois congratulated the three winners from the YouthSpark Live Challenge and presented them an award of services worth INR 1.5 Lakhs each as seed funding to get their business started. The three winners are Chandrashekhar Bhuyan from TERcoms whose project is focused on informing rural poor about their rights and entitlements, with the aim of empowering them through regular interface with the Government to push for corrective measures; Gaurav Mittal of Eye-D, short for EYE-Device, a microcontroller and phone combination to help the visually challenged with tasks like guidance, bus routing, face identification and colour identification; and Rahul Jacob, for, an online carpool matching service exclusively for working professionals.

YouthSpark Live is one of the many Microsoft youth focused programs. Over the last decade and more, Microsoft has been committed to making Indian youth more employable by arming them with skills that are in demand today. Starting in 2003 with Project Shiksha, Microsoft has been consistently adding to its bouquet of programs aimed at providing relevant skill development, employability and entrepreneurship skills for youth in India. (See table for more details.)

Programme Description Impact
Project Shiksha Designed to deliver comprehensive training and curriculum leadership for students and teachers in Government schools. 745,000 teachers trained and 37.2 million students impacted, since the program started in 2003.
Youthspark – Project Jyoti Targeted at underprivileged youth aged 16 to 24, offers training on basic IT skills, spoken English, personality development and job preparedness 1,425 learning centers in India, trained over 470,000 youth, over 70% placed. 600 youth enterprises since December 2012
Project Saksham Saksham is a Microsoft initiative to give impetus to the National Mission of Education through ICT (NMEICT) of MHRD (Ministry of Human Resource Development) with a common objective to building connectivity and knowledge network among and within institutions of higher learning in the country. Over 1,000 faculty members across 31 universities trained
Project Oorja & Sakshartha Aimed at empowering youth with the essential IT skills irrespective of the field they choose to pursue. 750 youth have been trained across Bihar, MP, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
Digital Saksharta Digital Saksharta or the Digital Literacy Curriculum is a free online programme to enable people with digital literacy to help them employ the edge of computing in everyday life. Over 1,61,958 individuals and Indian army jawans skilled
Imagine Cup Global technology competition that provides high school and university students a chance to apply their knowledge and passion to develop technology solutions for some of the world’s toughest problems Over 60,000 Indian students from 25 Indian states participated in Imagine Cup this year.
DreamSpark Provides free access to Microsoft designer and developer tools for college students to advance their learning of key technical skills In India, 12 million students have already gained access to the latest MS tools through this program.
BizSpark Gives software startups access to Microsoft software development tools and connections with key industry players, including investors In three years, the program has provided professional software at no charge to close to 4,000 start-ups.
Microsoft Innovation Centers (MICs) Launched with a vision of driving innovation and providing incubation and expert hands-on support on Microsoft technology innovation, research, and software solutions, aimed at creating a pool of student technology experts across India. Currently 43 MICs serving as innovation hubs at select colleges and technology institutes.
Microsoft Student Partners (MSP) Program Fosters a world-wide community of students passionate about technology. It is aimed at empowering students community across colleges and universities by giving them access to free Microsoft technology, trainings on Microsoft platform & products, and through certifications and skill development. 1,500 MSPs across 25 states in India
Accelerator program of Microsoft Ventures in India Hosts two batches a year, each batch goes through a rigorous, intense and structured four-month program where the focus is to provide mentoring, customer connect, tech enablement, product management and design support, apart from the great Microsoft infrastructure that they have access to. Applications opened for fifth. 36 companies graduated in first three batches. 82% of them have received funding, average being $215k. The fourth batch of 16 start-ups will graduate on 23rd May, 2014.
Microsoft Academia Accelerator Aimed at building a deep long-term association between industry and academia. Microsoft, in collaboration with the faculty at select leading Indian engineering colleges, aims to enhance the Computer Science curriculum in selective areas. Also conducts workshops at colleges to train students on our platforms, and mentors them as they build apps. 10 colleges engaged over last 2 years, 15+ workshops conducted where over 500 students and 20 faculty were engaged. 15 hackathons hosted. 2,650+ students coded on Microsoft platforms to create 350+ app ideas.

More information about YouthSpark can be found on Microsoft YouthSpark Hub, an online destination 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, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential. Microsoft set up its India operations in 1990. Today, Microsoft entities in India have over 6,000 employees, engaged in sales and marketing, research and development and customer services and support, across nine Indian cities – Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi NCR, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune. Microsoft is committed to touching and transforming lives and businesses in India through technology.

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