Microsoft, Shakti Foundation join hands to help female entrepreneurs
10:40 AM, February 17, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 10:51 AM, February 17, 2017

Microsoft, Shakti Foundation join hands to help female entrepreneurs

A partnership between Microsoft Bangladesh, Shakti Foundation and the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has been signed aiming to train and support female entrepreneurs to run their own IT repair centres across Bangladesh.

Microsoft Philanthropies yesterday announced a financial award from the Microsoft YouthSpark grant to Shakti Foundation for Disadvantaged Women, according to a press release floated to media yesterday. 

Shakti Foundation for Disadvantaged Women is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the social and economic empowerment of underprivileged women through its initiatives in microfinance, health, and agriculture.

Microsoft Bangladesh, in partnership with the Access to Information (A2I) unit of the PMO, has provided Digital Literacy Training to women in 5,200 Digital Centres across Bangladesh.

To graduate from the Digital Literacy Training programme, Microsoft Bangladesh, in participation with the A2I/PMO, has now entered an agreement with Shakti Foundation for Disadvantaged Women to further empower these women through training and financing opportunities.

The Microsoft Youth Spark award will support Shakti Foundation to enable more women to operate their own IT repairs and services businesses across the country.

The IT entrepreneurship programme equips women with the relevant IT skills through training in computer hardware and software use, repair and troubleshooting.

Upon graduation, they are enrolled into Shakti's microfinance programme to secure a loan for opening a small IT repair centre in one of the over 5,200 Digital Centres nationwide provided by the PMO.

Dr Humaira Islam, founder executive director of Shakti Foundation said, "Imparting IT skills to underprivileged women will help them gain social and economic independent through a holistic approach to IT entrepreneurship. To date, Microsoft Bangladesh has trained 3,300 women of the 5200 women with IT skills and Shakti Foundation will kick start the first group of 50 of these already trained women to open their small IT repair business in Digital Centers by March 2017."

Microsoft's Sonia Bashir Kabir said, "Women play a pivotal role in raising families and contributing to the local economy. Microsoft YouthSpark grants help nonprofits such as Shakti Foundation to scale so that more women can benefit from their programs as well as gain economic and social independence."

Last year, Microsoft Philanthropies announced grants for over 100 nonprofit organizations (NPOs) in 55 markets, including 29 NPOs in Asia Pacific (APAC) which include Australia, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

The grants are part of a three-year the $75 million commitment Microsoft has made to increase access to computer science education around the world. Microsoft is partnering with nonprofits by providing cash grants, content and other resources they need to bring computational thinking and problem-solving skills to youth, women and underserved communities, important building blocks to help them succeed in today's tech-fueled economy.

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