For its contribution to the regional revitalisation programme of Ehime Prefecture, Microsoft Japan was recognised at this year’s Nikkei Social Initiative Awards. The Awards was established by leading newspaper company Nihon Keizai Shimbun (Nikkei) to recognise initiatives to alleviate social needs, and has honoured many outstanding corporations, nonprofits and individuals who have made a difference to Japan.
Working with local governments is not new to Microsoft Japan, which has been participating in public-private partnerships since creating the Local Community Revitalisation Programme in 2009.
Microsoft Japan's contribution to the regional revitalisation programme of Ehime Prefecture was recognised at this year's Nikkei Social Initiative Awards.
In the Microsoft-Ehime Prefecture collaboration, one of the key initiatives was the Ehime Marugoto Bike Roads project, designed to promote the prefecture as an important destination for cycling expeditions.
A key factor for the project’s success was the creation of a cloud-based website, leveraging Microsoft Azure cloud service to provide updated information on cycling routes through the use of GPS and other dynamic content. An interactive service along each route sends feedback from cyclists and local residents to the prefecture’s blogs.
The website is operated by Busystem, a local nonprofit providing ICT-related employment assistance to enable people with disabilities to work from home. Microsoft provided advanced cloud computing training to the website administrators.
In another project, Microsoft Japan supported Ehime University to offer advanced software development training—including C# programming and Windows Store app development—to students and engineers from small companies.
Busystem’s General Manager, Toshihiro Kawasaki, said, “In collaboration with Microsoft and our nonprofit partners, we have made good progress in the revitalisation of the local community. Through the collaboration, we gained the opportunity to learn technologies such as Dynamics CRM and Office 365. Both cloud technologies enable new workstyles for our nonprofit staff, and allow them to manage projects across the country.”
As Microsoft continues to work with Ehime Prefecture, it is also pursuing collaboration with other local governments such as Toshima City, Tsukuba City and Ibaraki Prefecture. The projects are wide-ranging in nature, including the creation of a digital system to manage public health records, providing technologies for teaching in schools and IT skills training and employment assistance.
The diverse nature of Microsoft Japan’s involvement emphasises the multifaceted role that corporations can play in society. We can’t wait to see the results that will emerge in the near future. Gambatte (Japanese for “keep it up”), Microsoft Japan!