Over the past decade, the Indonesian economy has made significant strides towards a prosperous future for the country’s 240 million people. A new generation of skilled professionals is expected to play a vital role in transforming Indonesia into a competitive, knowledge-based nation—but more initiatives are needed to better prepare these youth for gainful employment.
The Microsoft YouthSpark programme, launched in March 2013, creates more opportunities for young people through IT training and employment, and is empowering the next generation of tech-driven entrepreneurs. Now in its second year, Microsoft is stepping up its collaboration with nonprofit organisations to realise the full benefits of the YouthSpark programme, especially in cities where youth unemployment rates remain relatively high.
In October 2014, Microsoft and YCAB Foundation jointly held a YouthSpark event in Jambi, bringing together more than 2,000 students, educators and city officials to discuss the most pressing challenges facing young people. Through the community learning centre (also known as “Rumah Belajar” in Bahasa Indonesia) located in Jambi, Microsoft is currently providing IT training for the region’s underprivileged youth.
Twenty-year-old Jumali, a YouthSpark beneficiary living in Jakarta, shared his experience of how enrolling in Rumah Belajar sparked off a fruitful learning journey that got him to where he is right now—a young social entrepreneur running a profitable bag business.
“Using Microsoft technology, Jumali is able to make a comfortable living through his bag business while continuing to pursue his dream of studying law in the future. What's inspiring about Jumali's journey is his desire to start a business in his hometown of Lampung, and to empower people to overcome their difficulties,” said Esther K Sianipar, Community Affairs Manager, Microsoft Indonesia.
During the event, it was announced that the Microsoft YouthSpark entrepreneurship programme will run for one year in Jambi to help young people realise their dreams of becoming successful entrepreneurs. The initiative is supported by the Indonesian Young Entrepreneurs Association and Jambi city authorities.
“We welcome the contributions made by Microsoft and YCAB Foundation to support youth. Initiatives such as the YouthSpark entrepreneurship programme are aligned with our vision to transform Jambi into a leading trade and services centre, built on a strong foundation of local culture and community involvement," said Syarif Fahzan, the Mayor of Jambi.
Through the entrepreneurship programme, Jambi youth are invited to submit their business plans. Shortlisted candidates will receive in-depth training on areas such as budget planning and entrepreneurial skills training, as well as access to Office 365 and other cloud-based resources.
“The successful response to our programmes reaffirms what we are trying to achieve with the YouthSpark initiative—empowering youth to become change agents in their own communities,” concluded Esther.