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Microsoft announces $3mn YouthSpark investment in Vietnam

Wednesday, March 25, 2015, 10:58 GMT+7
Microsoft announces $3mn YouthSpark investment in Vietnam
Microsoft and Vietnamese officials and students pose for a photograph at the investment announcing ceremony in Hanoi on March 24, 2015.

Young people across Vietnam will be provided with technology skills training and connections to employment and entrepreneurial opportunities under a three-year program funded by Microsoft, the U.S. software titan announced Tuesday.

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Microsoft will invest US$3 million in Vietnam over the next three years as part of its global YouthSpark commitment to empower young people with opportunities for education, employment, and entrepreneurship, the company said on its website.

This latest announcement cements Microsoft’s long-term commitment to Vietnam’s future – helping to develop its economy, driving innovation, and empowering the people of Vietnam to do and achieve more for themselves, their families and their country, according to the Washington State-based company.

The Southeast Asian country is seen as an important market for Microsoft in the region.

“With its large, young, highly-mobile and socially-engaged population, we believe that the country is poised to fully leverage the power of technology to grow and compete on a global stage,” César Cernuda, President of Microsoft Asia Pacific, said at the announcement ceremony in Hanoi.

“We are making this commitment to empower Vietnam’s digital generation to transform the future and further develop its economy under our YouthSpark program.”

Development of employees, broadening investment to youth throughout Vietnam, and supporting young leaders in the country are three focuses of the YouthSpark program in Vietnam, according to Microsoft.

Vietnam is currently home to Microsoft’s Mobile Devices manufacturing business, which provides jobs for more than 10,000 employees in the northern province of Bac Ninh.

Part of the $3 million investment will be used to provide on-site IT training for factory employees to help them develop new skills and discover new opportunities.

Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Dang Huy Dong expressed his thanks to Microsoft “for joining and supporting our efforts to strengthen and develop a solid IT infrastructure and for bringing the YouthSpark program to Vietnam.”

“Microsoft YouthSpark will be invaluable in helping young Vietnamese learn more about technology and be equipped with the right skills to firmly set them on a future career path,” he said.

The Vietnamese government has set a vision of becoming a strong IT-led country by 2020, and is moving toward realizing the goal, according to the deputy minister.

Microsoft’s latest investment is thus “in line with the government’s efforts to develop the country’s human capital to raise its regional and global competitiveness,” said Vu Minh Tri, general director of Microsoft Vietnam.

“This is also another step toward transforming Vietnam into an advanced IT nation in 2020 as part of its 10-year ICT development plan, where youths will play a critical role.”

In rolling out its YouthSpark investments, Microsoft will be partnering with local non-governmental organizations including the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), the VietNet Information Technology and Communication Center, and the Kenan Institute Asia.

Microsoft will collaborate with VietNet-ICT to implement the Bac Ninh Province Training Roadshow on basic technology skills and provide training to 1,200 young people. In addition, Microsoft will extend its existing commitment to train underserved youth and aims to reach 16,500 young people in Bac Ninh, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh in partnership with VietNet-ICT over the next three years.

To promote computer science, Microsoft will localize its Virtual Academy Learn to Code Videos into Vietnamese and introduce a Coding Roadshow to universities in Bac Ninh, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City.

Graduate internships at the Microsoft factory will also be offered to university students and the U.S. tech giant will extend its three-year commitment to small and medium-sized enterprises and provide training for 5,000 young start-ups in partnership with VCCI.

Microsoft also plans to deliver a range of technology courses and resources to thousands of young people over the next three years in an effort to help them become future innovators in the transformation of Vietnam. These will include digital literacy skills, coding and computer science classes, as well as internships and scholarships.

The YouthSpark Hub, an online portal containing rich resources and information on free YouthSpark programs and activities that young people can sign up for, will be fully localized in the Vietnamese language and can be accessed at www.youthsparkhubVietnam.vn.

“We look forward to partnering non-governmental organizations and non-profit organizations to empower them with the necessary ICT skills to help make this a reality,” Tri said.

Nguyen Nhu Quynh, who is completing a master’s degree in Water-Environment-Oceanography at the Hanoi University of Science and Technology, will be invited to join Microsoft’s Global YouthSpark Advisory Council as a representative for the Vietnamese youth and youth across the Asia-Pacific region, according to the U.S. company.

Quynh is the founder of Pioneer Fish, a volunteer organization that provides career orientation and skills training for students.

“The advisory council consists of young high achievers from across the world and Quynh will share her perspective and help Microsoft create programs, partnerships and resources that continue to meet the needs of youth around the world,” the company said.

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