Young people can do amazing things given the right opportunities and resources. They are constantly innovating and pushing the envelope with creative ideas to address a social need. They are challenging old ways of doing things and finding better ways to solve an old problem.
Increasingly, we’re seeing a growing opportunity divide between young people who have the access, skills and opportunities to be successful and those who lack the skills, education, experiences and connections to employment that are required to survive and thrive. Closing this divide is one of the most important actions we can alltake to secure the future for our youth, and as a result, the future of our global economy.
At a time when youth unemployment rates are at an all-time high, and with an estimated 600 million jobs that will need to be created over the next decade to make up for jobs lost in the recent economic crisis, creating jobs for young people has become one of the most urgent problems facing countries all over the world. So how can we help to close this opportunity divide?
To address these issues, Microsoft has created a company-wide initiative, Microsoft YouthSpark, which is designed to create opportunities for 300 million youth around the world over the next three years. We want to empower youth to imagine and realize their full potential by connecting them with greater opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship.
One of the ways we are doing this is through Innovate for Good, a Microsoft YouthSpark programme that enables young people to collaborate, inspire and support each other while using technology to make a difference in their communities, and provides the tools and resources needed to bring their ideas to reality.
More than a year ago, six regional Innovate for Good events were held around the world for young people between the ages of 16 – 30 who were interested in the concepts of social innovation, social entrepreneurship and social good. They were offered a set of training opportunities and activities to help bring their ideas closer to reality.
This year, we’re taking this regional concept further and bringing local versions to more countries around the world so we can reach out to even more people: whether their interest is volunteering, working at a nonprofit or starting their own venture.
We kicked off Innovate for Good in Asia Pacific in Indonesia five weeks ago, and we are delighted to bring this programme to Thailand (19 – 20 April), Taiwan (April 20 – 21) and the Philippines (May 18 – 19) over the next five weeks, where hundreds more young people will participate in similar conversations that are taking place all over the world.
We’re very excited to meet these young people in the weeks to come and look forward to hearing what is on their minds, what keeps them up late at night, the interesting projects they are working on and the ideas they’ve been thinking about to see how we can help connect them with people and resources to further their aspirations.
For updates on Microsoft YouthSpark and Innovate for Good, follow us on:
It's great to see that such an awesome opportunity is happening again this year in even more locations!
Great work community team
Thanks, Ed! The events this year are also going really well. Watch for some upcoming posts about the events in China, Taiwan and Thailand. More to come! Take care, from the Microsoft Asia Citizenship Team