Microsoft East Africa and The United Nations Development Programme have partnered in a move that will see Microsoft train and mentor Ethiopia’s UNDP supported Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP) for 200,000 entrepreneurs. This is UNDP Ethiopia’s first private sector partnership.
Signed under the Microsoft’s 4Afrika Initiative, which looks to accelerate Africa’s economic development and improve its global competitiveness by empowering local entrepreneurs, senior Microsoft executive volunteers will povide support, including mentoring entrepreneurs on strategy and marketing, support the best innovators and nominate them for the 4Afrika Innovation Grant Award and providing access to Microsoft BizSpark, a global program that provides free software to startup entrepreneurs.
In future, Microsoft will also help entrepreneurs exchange products and service and gain global recognition through the Microsoft Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) portal. As part of the deal, Microsoft will also offer a ‘Build Your Own Business’ training, which is designed to help micro and small businesses empower current and aspiring entrepreneurs.
According to the Resident Representative, Eugene Owusu, says: “The goods and services offered by Microsoft provides a unique opportunity to unleash the potential of young and budding entrepreneurs. This will help them to play a vital role in the economic growth and transformational development of Ethiopia.”
Eric Odipo, Country Manager of Microsoft East and Southern Africa, agrees: “It is critical to develop the capacity, knowledge and skills of local entrepreneurs who will stimulate local economies. We look forward to working with the UNDP in taking innovative business models to scale.”
The two firms have earlier worked together in numerous countries to promote sustainable development, eradication of poverty, advancement of women, good governance and the rule of law. This first partnership in Ethiopia will focus on addressing some of the principal challenges faced in building resilient nations, by empowering citizens and preparing them to join a dynamic and innovative 21st century workforce.
“Entrepreneurs hold the key in driving innovation and long term competitiveness in the African economy. Microsoft’s partnership with UNDP to support 200,000 entrepreneurs in Ethiopia is the first step in driving this growth.” Concludes Amrote Abdella, Director Startup Engagement & Partnerships Africa Initiatives at Microsoft.