Microsoft announced on Thursday a new initiative that is meant to help teenagers gain better opportunities in education, entrepreneurship, and employment. As we know, all three of these issues, entrepreneurship especially, is where teenagers are underrepresented.
In the next three years, Microsoft hopes to help these underrepresented individuals through $500 million in funding to existing programs including: Year Up and the Boys & Girls Club of America. Smaller changes will include updated tools for both students and teachers, including Skype and Office365. Microsoft’s final goal is to reach 300 million youth not just here in the states, but also talent found around the world.
This is unprecedented due of how much Microsoft is investing in this initiative. There is a lot at stake in Microsoft hoping to direct youth to success, and as we all know at Teens in Tech, that’s a smart move on Microsoft’s part. The market of talented teens inside and outside of technology is huge.
With the announcement, we are informed of three initiatives that are under Microsoft’s sleeves for jumpstarting YouthSpark. First, Give For Youth, where young entrepreneurs can receive funding for their innovation. Secondly, Microsoft hopes to connect young entrepreneurs with other young entrepreneurs through Innovate for Good. Thirdly, Microsoft is YouthSpark Hub, the social arm of the initiative that informs individuals of innovation floating around.
Microsoft YouthSpark is a great initiative for fostering and producing young talent and innovation. Just as what Teens in Tech does with our Incubator and Conference, YouthSpark understands that teens are at a bit of a disadvantage with the ‘opportunity gap’. However, this gap is getting much smaller. By going a bit grassroots and offering funding to schools and established nonprofits that benefit youth already, Microsoft is moving on a smart path to harboring innovation.