Rome, 5th November 2013 — Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer visited Italy to meet with customers, partners and employees while taking stock of the results achieved and the opportunities created in Italy through the YouthSpark program, a company-wide, global initiative launched one year ago to create opportunities for 300 million youth over three years. Through 30+ programs and partnerships with 186 youth-serving nonprofits, 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.
Microsoft YouthSpark has had a particularly significant impact in Italy, a country where the level of youth unemployment exceeded 40%, with more than 700 thousand young people between the ages of 15 and 24 in search of a job. In this context, at the Building the Vision event - promoted by World Wide Rome, Asset Camera and Tecnopolo together with InnovAction Lab and Codemotion in collaboration with Microsoft YouthSpark and Fondazione Cariplo – Steve Ballmer set out Microsoft's commitment in Italy, starting with an analysis of what has been achieved so far through YouthSpark before announcing the plans and objectives for 2014, beginning with the new program developed with Fondazione Mondo Digitale, the Italian partner of Telecentre-Europe.
“We are inspired to see young people across Italy take the lead in changing their own lives as well as making a real impact in their local communities,” said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft. “We are excited to empower youth around the globe with opportunities for education, employment, and entrepreneurship through our YouthSpark program. In Italy, more than 25,000 students have been trained so far and we’re continuing to invest so that thousands more young people can tap into the same opportunities.”
During 2013 about 25,000 young Italians have been trained through YouthSpark's various initiatives and more than 500,000 Italian youth joined Microsoft YouthSpark. Projects for training and entrepreneurship were implemented, giving practical support to young people through IT training courses providing specific skills for approaching the world of work and offering free tools to start new entrepreneurial activities. Specifically:
4,300 young people looking for work have been trained through the “Youth & Employment - IT as an enabler” project, created by Microsoft Italia in conjunction with CNCA (the National Coordination of Care Communities) and Fondazione Adecco per le Pari Opportunità, with the objective of improving their IT, interpersonal and workplace skills through specific training courses.
More than 4,500 students have received innovative tools and acquired the necessary skills to enter the workplace through by the social commitment door, through Meet no Neet, the program created from a partnership between Microsoft Italia, Fondazione Mondo Digitale, Roma Capitale and Italian schools.
More than 15,000 talented young Italians have had the opportunity to take part in two stages of training emphasizing technical and business skills in order to transform their own idea into a real, concrete startup thanks to Startup Revolutionary Road, the initiative created from the collaboration with Fondazione Cariplo and Fondazione Filarete, through the work of 5 NGOs: TechGarage, I3P, Polihub, InnovAction Lab and Fondazione Filarete.
100 youngsters have joined Innovate4Good, the initiative whose objective is to support, through technology, young people who want to develop entrepreneurial ideas implemented in collaboration with the non-profit organization Junior Achievement Italia.
400 young women were trained through the Nuvola Rosa project, run in partnership with the municipality of Florence with the aim of closing the gender gap in science, technology and research.
The event, moderated by the journalist Riccardo Luna, was actually a chance to reflect on opportunities for startups: how to set up, finance and launch them, in the presence of institutional representatives and many stakeholders from the world of innovative startups. In this context, the words of an international player like Microsoft helped to shed light on practical opportunities for startups, through an overview of the startups created as well as YouthSpark program’s next steps.
“For 2 years, Asset-Camera, Special Company of the Rome Chamber of Commerce focused on the development of innovation on the territory, has been organizing initiatives and carrying out projects aimed at proposing Rome as booster of the culture of the change. As a matter of fact, the new world is first of all a new economy with new economic players. Among our objectives: continuing to spread the innovation and creativity culture, building the condition in Rome to allow the birth of innovative companies incubators and making the innovation the new perspective to look at the Capital City. We want to contribute, together with other institutional players, to create an ecosystem able to welcome and bring up the best startups in the Country. We are evaluating the creation of a venture capital fund to support startups and the realization of a new innovation space” – explained Stefano Venditti, Chairman of Asset-Camera
Italy's central position within the framework of the YouthSpark initiatives clearly emerged when a new program was announced: beginning in 2014 and in partnership with Telecentre-Europe, Microsoft will donate to 10,000 young Europeans certification vouchers to help young job seekers attain the necessary ICT skills accreditation to connect to digital job opportunities, for a total market value of over 300,000 euros. 1000 of these vouchers, i.e. 10% of the total number, will be given to Fondazione Mondo Digitale, the partner of Telecentre-Europe in Italy, to help young Italian job seekers to obtain ICT skills.
This bi-lateral cooperation is a part of Microsoft’s YouthSpark program and falls on the heels of a long-term collaboration between Microsoft and Telecentre-Europe to drive youth employability and help address the lack of skills in the workforce. The certifications will be delivered to youth through the Microsoft IT Academy program that has delivered over 1.4 million student certifications worldwide in the last 12 months.
“At Telecentre-Europe we are committed to making a significant contribution to fight the dramatic youth unemployment rates evident in many European countries. Thanks to our Local Coalitions for Digital Jobs initiative, we are already activating partnerships for digital skills and jobs with governments, enterprises and the civil society in 10 European countries. Microsoft’s donation of 10.000 certification vouchers through its YouthSpark initiative will allow us to equip our local partnerships with a powerful tool to deliver our goals” – explained Gabriel Rissola, Managing Director, Telecentre-Europe
“In Italy, where there is still too much uncertainty about improvement in an economic and productive context, technology continues to represent an unequalled lever for economic and employment growth. The work opportunities offered by IT and communication technology are enormous. It is estimated that by 2015, 90% of professions in all sectors will require technological skills. It is therefore essential that this demand can be met in our society and that there is no shortage of qualified people to fill the roles required by the market” - stated Carlo Purassanta, General Manager Microsoft Italia.
During today’s event, Microsoft announced that it will continue to invest in the YouthSpark project in Italy to be able to reach two main goals: give all youth access to the necessary skills to be able to enter the workplace through the partnership with Fondazione Mondo Digitale; support the creation of new startups, helping the Italian University students in partnership with Fondazione Cariplo.
The opportunity divide is a real problem. It's a problem for young people, and it's a problem for economies as a whole but, thanks to private-public partnerships, there is the possibility to create a new future. Through YouthSpark, Microsoft is focusing its citizenship efforts and other company resources on connecting young people with opportunities for education, employment, and entrepreneurship. YouthSpark is about empowering young people to imagine and realize their full potential, using technology to cultivate their talent, to be more competitive in dealing with the approach to the world of work.
Microsoft YouthSpark is a worldwide initiative to create new opportunities for 300 million young people in more than 100 countries by 2015. This inter-company initiative includes Citizenship and other company programs that enable young people to imagine and fulfill all their potential by offering them greater opportunities in the area of training, employment and entrepreneurship. By exploring the Map of YouthSpark Impact and reading the success stories connected to YouthSpark you can discover how this program truly helps young people to improve their skills and competence.
Established in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in the software, services and Internet technology sectors for the management of personal and corporate information. The company provides a comprehensive range of products and services designed to improve the results of virtually anyone’s activities simply by means of software – at any time, in any place and with any device.
Further information about Microsoft can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/italy/
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