Microsoft East Africa and the (UNDP) United Nations Development Programme have signed a collaborative agreement in which will seek to enhance development activities in entrepreneurship in Ethiopia.
Microsoft will support the collaboration by providing training and mentorship services to Ethiopia’s UNDP supported Entrepreneurship Development Programme (EDP) for about 200,000 entrepreneurs, part of the Microsoft 4Afrika initiative which seeks to accelerate Africa’s economic development and improve competitiveness of youth in this region on the global stage by encouraging them to take up entrepreneurship as an alternative to regular employment. As part of this agreement, Senior Microsoft Executive volunteers have promised to:
- Provide support, including mentoring entrepreneurs on strategy and marketing
- Support the best innovators and nominate them for the 4Afrika Innovation Grant Award
- Provide access to Microsoft BizSpark, a global program that provides free software to startup entrepreneurs
- In future, help entrepreneurs exchange products and service and gain global recognition through the Microsoft Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) portal
UNDP’s partnership deal with Microsoft also includes a ‘Build Your Own Business’ training, which is designed to help small businesses empower current and aspiring entrepreneurs. This is UNDP Ethiopia’s first private sector partnership. “The goods and services offered by Microsoft provides a unique opportunity to unleash the potential of young and budding entrepreneurs. This will help them to play a vital role in the economic growth and transformational development of Ethiopia.” comments the UNDP Ethiopia’s Resident Representative, Eugene Owusu. “It is critical to develop the capacity, knowledge and skills of local entrepreneurs who will stimulate local economies. We look forward to working with the UNDP in taking innovative business models to scale.” agrees Eric Odipo, Country Manager of Microsoft East and Southern Africa. UNDP and Microsoft have successfully partnered in the past in numerous countries to promote:
- sustainable development
- eradication of poverty
- advancement of women
- good governance
- and the rule of law
“Entrepreneurs hold the key in driving innovation and long term competitiveness in the African economy. Microsoft’s partnership with UNDP to support 200,000 entrepreneurs in Ethiopia is the first step in driving this growth.” adds Amrote Abdella, who is the Director of Startup Engagement & Partnerships Africa Initiatives at Microsoft.