Microsoft Corporation India Pvt. Ltd gave the first indication of the impact that its newly- launched global initiative Microsoft YouthSpark will have in India, announcing the award of cash grants worth US$350,000 for Indian NGOs for the year 2012-13. Two local NGOs, Aide ét Action and Aga Khan Rural Support Programme, were allocated US$250,000 for the year, in support of their work with youth. The company-wide initiative will aim to create opportunities for 300 million youth in more than 100 countries over the next three years.
The announcement also included the launch of the first YouthSpark centre in Delhi, the first of 10 such centres across the country that will work with underprivileged youth aged 16 to 24 offering training on basic IT skills, spoken English, personality development and job preparedness. Each centre will focus on one trade-led enterprise - like IT-enabled services, retail, hospitality, automobiles, etc. – and from each batch of students, a select few will be trained in a simulated set-up, and encouraged to start their own group enterprises. This partnership with Aide ét Action, the first grant installment which was announced today, will aim to train 80,000 youth over three years.
“With the Government of India setting the target of skilling 500 million people by the year 2022, nurturing employability and the spirit of entrepreneurship amongst youth has never been more imperative,” said Sanket Akerkar, Managing Director, Microsoft Corporation India Pvt. Ltd.
The launch of YouthSpark comes as a response to research highlighting that the world’s youth faces a new divide – an opportunity divide, which will have a profound impact on their livelihoods.