Coding and Entrepreneurship Bonanza for Indonesian Youth


By Esther K. Sianipar, Citizenship Manager, Microsoft Indonesia

How did you first learn about strategic goal planning? At home or in school? Well, I’m happy to say that for some young Indonesians at least, they learnt it during our YouthSpark Live event in March.

Over 100 youth took part in this event with the US Embassy and YCAB Foundation in Jakarta, 19 to 20 March. YouthSpark Live events provide training for basic and advanced technology skills needed in the workplace, and for entrepreneurship.

To ensure diversity amongst those benefiting from this free event, we invited youth from various points along the education spectrum—high school, vocational school and university, plus social entrepreneurs. We also made a concerted effort to reach out to those who might be at a greater disadvantage, focusing on at-risk youth from West Java and young people from low-income families.

I do think that many of the participants found the highlight of the entire event was in learning to code alongside Xaverius Prawiro, Andakara Prastawa and Rizky Lyandra! On the second day, we had a coding workshop attended by the basketball stars who were a great pleasure to host. They shared the benefits they have reaped from being part of the digital generation—being able to access learning resources, networking and keeping in touch with fans—which have motivated them to learn how to code, and be more than just an end-user.

You might have heard of our Action Plan (give it a try!), which takes users on a reflective journey about goal management. Users, especially younger people, usually find it immensely useful in helping them think constructively about their problems and in coming up with a strategic roadmap for solution. The response was the same at our session on entrepreneurial goals where participants practised using the Action Plan by coming up with business ideas.

I was very impressed by the wide range of practical plans. A number of people touched on various aspects of retail: one team wanted to have an e-commerce system to serve particular Indonesian needs, while another proposed an application server rental service. There was also a proposal on an information portal to monitor environmental conservation issues.

All the participants will get to join the local Yammer community that I’ve set up. Though it will be a good repository of information from the Ministry of Cooperatives SMEs and Microsoft YouthSpark, what’s more valuable is the engagement. There, the youth can interact with staff from the ministry and will receive direct mentorship from Microsoft YouthSpark global and local staff.

In addition, the participants are given access to YouthSpark Hub (an online portal) which provides information on resources that can help participants scale up business plans such as grants, trainings and activities.

I’m now working closely with the Indonesia government and other colleagues on follow-up plans for the participants. Watch this space for updates on our progress!

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