May, 2013

  • YouthSpark Profile: Gianisse Marie Adamantopoulos

    This is part of a series of YouthSpark profiles where we highlight young people in Asia who are dedicated to changing the world through technology, and inspiring others along the way.









    A student at De La Salle University, Gianisse Marie Adamantopoulos, also known as ‘Gigi’, combines her passion for music and technology by reaching out to other young, like-minded music enthusiasts in the Philippines. She aspires to introduce young people to the latest software, online materials and social media as an alternate avenue to realise their talents and achieve their musical ambitions. An avid musician, Gigi enjoys creating her own music in her free time.

    Tell us one exciting thing that you have been working on in the past 3–6 months.

    I belong to a school team that recently implemented the Microsoft Student Partners Programme. Over the past few months, we have been playing an active role in encouraging both freshmen and sophomore students at our school to embrace the use of technology to solve common issues that they may face on a daily basis. Besides my involvement with this school-related project, I have been trying my hand at producing sound mixes and musical recordings with the use of a variety of music software.

    What are some of the challenges facing youth today that concern you the most?

    I find that my generation tends to experience the pressures of life at a much earlier age. Among my peers, there are a lot of young people who are already feeling overwhelmed by practical considerations, such as the need to earn a good living to sustain their needs, and end up conforming to social norms — rather than pursuing their own dreams to create something that is truly new and innovative.

    If you had the ability to create one change in the world, what would that be and how can technology help you achieve this change?

    I would like to reach out to young people across the world and share with them the message that new technology, such as social media platforms, can help change their lives and shape a better future. Using social media, I want to do my part in spreading the message that technology enables them to continue pursuing their dreams and ambitions, without having to sacrifice their civic duties or personal obligations.

    I’m inspired by… those who are willing to persevere against all odds in order to find success in their lives and careers.

  • YouthSpark Profile: Simy Paul

    This is part of a series of YouthSpark profiles where we highlight young people in Asia who are dedicated to changing the world through technology, and inspiring others along the way.







    Simy Paul has always been passionate about making a positive impact on people’s lives, and her drive to make the world a better place has helped to put her on the fast track of career development. Simy’s participation in the Microsoft Academy for College Hires (MACH) program in July 2011 enabled the National University of Singapore (NUS) graduate to nurture her strong enthusiasm for public service and gain access to world-class learning resources. Simy is currently an Associate Technical Account Manager in Microsoft Singapore, making the most out of her learning opportunities and accelerated career path gained through MACH.

    Tell us one exciting thing that you have been working on in the past 3 – 6 months.
    I am currently involved with managing the largest service account in Singapore, which has been a really exciting experience because there’s always something new to learn every day. Working with the global Microsoft team and having to handle different kinds of situations, I get to experience how technology enables people to collaborate across boundaries and achieve common goals. It gives me great satisfaction to see how the work I do translates into actual value for the customers.

    What are some of the challenges facing youth today that concern you the most?
    While society has become very affluent, this has resulted in young people taking things for granted. It is very important that we appreciate and understand the importance of hard work and innovation. Another concern of mine would be the impact of media, especially on those who spend a lot of time on television entertainment and games — these activities may potentially have a negative influence on young people by sending them the wrong message when it comes to body image and issues such as violence, for instance.

    If you had the ability to create one change in the world, what would that be and how can technology help you achieve this change?
    I would want to eradicate poverty around the world and I believe that education is the key. Having access to a high standard of education would empower children to be innovative. With advanced technology, children can also better utilize information technology to maximize their potential. Through the use of social media, they may even create a network to share knowledge and learning experiences with one another.

    I’m inspired by... my father. He brought our whole family to Singapore 22 years ago to start life afresh. Adapting to a new place and culture was not easy, but he managed to overcome these challenges through determination and a strong sense of optimism. He even started his own company, which became very successful. My father taught me that nothing is impossible if you put your mind to it.

  • Microsoft Vietnam Launches Joint Initiative to Empower Local Businesses

    In December 2012, Microsoft Vietnam launched a new initiative in partnership with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the ASEAN Foundation, aimed at empowering small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the region with technology.

    Senior executives from Microsoft, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the ASEAN Foundation, launching the new joint initiative aimed at empowering small and medium enterprises (SMEs)

    To be implemented over a period of two years, the project will focus on enhancing the information and communication technology (ICT) skills of SMEs in Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. The project meets the mandate of the ASEAN Foundation in terms of collaborating with the business sector and undertaking activities in technology that build the capacity of people in the Southeast Asia region.

    In Vietnam, Microsoft will collaborate with the VCCI to provide local SMEs with ICT training especially in e-commerce applications, helping young entrepreneurs in rural communities realise their full potential and improve their market competitiveness.

    During the launch ceremony held in Hanoi, Dr Pham Thi Thu Hang, Secretary General of VCCI, elaborated on the project’s objective, “The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry is very pleased to partner Microsoft in this project, which we anticipate will contribute significantly to ICT skill development among SMEs and young entrepreneurs in Vietnam.”

    To achieve its objective, Microsoft and the VCCI will jointly conduct and supervise the ICT training courses, including the development of a team of qualified trainers who will work directly with young entrepreneurs in the rural communities. On top of the training, a group of young entrepreneurs who show strong promise will be invited to take part in an e-business incubation programme that provides mentorship and assistance in the use of ICT to expand their businesses.

    Vu Minh Tri, Country Manager, Microsoft Vietnam, said, “One of our commitments is to empower local businesses with new but affordable technologies. In this project, our target groups are young people living in rural villages who are starting up or are already running their own business. We want them to take full advantage of the latest ICT to enhance work productivity, explore e-commerce to realise their potential and thus enhance their market competitiveness.” 

    “The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry is very pleased to partner Microsoft in this project, which we anticipate will contribute significantly to ICT skill development among SMEs and young entrepreneurs in Vietnam.”

    - Dr Pham Thi Thu Hang, Secretary General, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry

  • Using IT to Inspire a New Generation of Students in Nepal

    Microsoft Innovation Center (MIC) Nepal organised Tech Mela 2013 on 22-23 March, an event aimed at highlighting the use of information technology (IT) for skills development and fostering innovative capabilities in the country.

    More than 3,200 students and IT professionals attended the technology event held at the Nepal Administrative Staff College in Lalitpur District. Dr Ram Kantha Makaju Shrestha, Vice Chancellor of Kathmandu University, officially inaugurated Tech Mela 2013, which comprised conference sessions and workshops focusing on career development in the Asp.Net community event for developers and business professionals, and the WOWzapp Hackathon, in which students competed in the development of Windows 8® apps.

    Cliff Reeves, General Manager, Emerging Business Team at Microsoft, participated in a high-level panel discussion, which highlighted the importance of collaboration between industry players and academic institutions to spearhead IT skills development in Nepal.

    Reeves said, “Microsoft aims to establish strong partnerships with local government agencies, academic institutions and industry organisations that will fuel the long-term growth of entrepreneurism and the IT industry. While the focus of Tech Mela 2013 is on inspiring a new generation of IT students by providing them with a look into what the future holds, the event also presents an ideal platform to discuss what businesses in Nepal can do to keep pace with the latest technology developments and changing industry requirements.”

    During Tech Mela 2013, MIC Nepal showcased the latest Microsoft products and technologies, as well as the wide range of employment opportunities made available to students through Microsoft’s learning campaigns. Participants gained hands-on experience through technology presentations conducted by MIC Nepal that cover the latest Microsoft offerings, including Windows 8, Visual Studio 2012® and SQL Azure™.

    Microsoft also invited successful IT professionals such as Karmath Dangol, Vice President of Engineering at, to share their personal experience in developing a successful tech venture.

    Other highlights of the event included tech blogger Anil Aakar from Aakar Post, who presented on the effective use of social media, and an inspiring presentation from Sagar Prasai, Consultant for Equity and Inclusion at WaterAid Nepal, who shared with the audience how he has been motivated to provide computer training for visually-impaired people despite suffering from a physical disability that has left him wheelchair-bound.

    Dr Prasai said, “Besides fostering innovation in Nepal, Tech Mela 2013 also highlighted how access to technology holds the key to broadening the impact of social initiatives across the country. These initiatives and community projects can range from providing underprivileged students with the latest technologies to develop new skills, to extending more dedicated services to enrich the lives of people who are suffering from severe disabilities.”

  • AppsForAsia: Encouraging Software & App Development in Malaysia

    AppsForAsia is a new initiative created by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Microsoft, and is supported by regional information technology (IT) associations, private sector technology partners and universities. The programme aims to harness the creative power of hundreds of software developer teams to create sustainable solutions for the economic, commercial and social benefit of governments, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), citizens and enterprises throughout Asia.

    In this post we are pleased to present the winning AppsForAsia entries from Malaysia.

    As part of the ADB and Microsoft's efforts to support the development of a knowledge-based economy in Malaysia, the AppsForAsia national developer event attracted a great number of software developer teams to create apps that are geared towards addressing social challenges. The three winning applications — EPIC Hope, Gnowledge and Blood R2 System — were showcased at the 46th Annual Meeting of the ADB, held on 2-5 May in New Delhi, India.

    Leveraging the latest cloud technology, software developer team DreamX created the EPIC Hope app with the objective of providing sustainable housing for indigenous people in local communities.

    EPIC Hope allows for the easy identification of a rural family in need and the information is relayed via the app to appointed master builders who decide if they will proceed with the project. Users of the app can view all approved projects in their area and pick those that they would like to fund or volunteer to help build.

    Once teams and project managers have been established, the EPIC Hope app creates a dashboard for managers to easily coordinate project assignments. As a collaborative platform, EPIC Hope helped in reducing the time taken to complete a project and attracted greater community involvement.

    The Gnowledge app supports educational activities by enabling users to create, publish, share and take tests, as well as complete academic exercises and assignments on a public portal ( that runs on Windows AzureTM.

    By offering access to more than 2,000 tests on a wide range of topics, the developers of Gnowledge aim to improve access to quality educational content and records management — and AppsForAsia is the ideal platform for them to raise awareness of their solution and drive traffic to the portal.

    In many developing countries in Asia, blood supply remains a significant challenge for hospitals and blood banks. Centium Software developed its Blood Request & Receive System (Blood R2 System) app, also based on Windows Azure, to address blood donation needs in local communities with a global communication tool that helps match blood demand and supply.

    The Blood R2 system consists of two apps, the donor app and the requester app. For the donor app, community members register to become a blood donor and key in their personal medical information such as the blood type. If a person requires blood in the community, they can download the requester app and make a request for the blood type, the amount of blood required and the urgency of the request. All donors who have previously downloaded and registered with the donor app, will get this alert and can communicate via the app.

    The app has additional features such as recommending donors, recognising successful donations and honouring top donors in the area. To learn more about the app watch this video.

    Congratulations to these young developer teams from Malaysia!

    For more information, please visit the AppsForAsia website.

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