KUALA LUMPUR (9 October 2013) – In its ongoing efforts to nurture the next generation of bright and innovation-driven young Malaysians, Microsoft Malaysia has launched its inaugural Innovate for Good event – a Microsoft YouthSpark program in partnership with TakingITGlobal that enables youth to collaborate, inspire and support each other while using technology to make a difference in their communities, and provides the tools and resources needed to bring their ideas to reality.
Launched by Tan Sri Dr Mohd. Irwan Serigar Abdullah, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Finance, in the presence of Zeenat Rahman, the Secretary of State’s Special Advisor on Global Youth Issues, United States Department of State, Innovate for Good brings together youth from around the world in local events and in a global online community to provide support for their ideas on making a difference. To this community, Microsoft brings the knowledge that the company, its employees, and alumni have gained over more than 30 years of innovation, business and technology expertise as well as active engagement in more than 100 countries around the world and shares it to spark and inspire the next generation of good.
Speaking at the Innovate for Good event held at Microsoft Malaysia’s office, Dr. Akhtar Badshah, Microsoft Corporation’s Senior Director of Citizenship and Public Affairs said, “Technology has a role to play in how we can level the playing field and how we can provide access to youth in underprivileged communities. But technology has to be connected with empowering youth by building their skills, by inspiring them to innovate and become change-makers. Finally we have to invest in them through time, talent and treasure so we can support them. With Innovate for Good, we aim to help youth around the world realize their potential and create a world that they can thrive in.”
At the launch, more than one hundred and forty young Malaysian innovators spent their time learning skills on how to present and pitch ideas and hearing from leading social innovation and entrepreneurship experts. The discussions generated during the event ranged from topics on education, environment, health, to women’s empowerment and poverty alleviation, and also the creative solutions that are possible through technology innovations. Also present was Khairy Jamaluddin, Minister of Youth and Sports, who officiated at the closing of the event.
According to Tan Sri Dr. Mohd. Irwan, “Young Malaysian entrepreneurs will benefit from the learning and sharing opportunities under programs that encourage creativity and innovation to create successful and sustainable businesses. As the Government turns towards innovation as a key lever to drive the economy, programs like Innovate for Good positively contribute to our national aspiration: to become a developed nation by the year 2020.”
Carlos Lacerda, Managing Director of Microsoft Malaysia, added, “We are very excited to be launching the Innovate for Good initiative in Malaysia. The Government is an active supporter of youth innovation and we are firmly behind the vision of the leaders of the country through this platform. Innovate for Good will provide entrepreneurship programs and events in conjunction with local and international partners including government agencies and international entities such as TakingITGlobal, to facilitate opportunities for our youth, connecting them to others in a community who want to make a real impact for a better tomorrow. Through this initiative, our youth will discover how others have used Microsoft technology and programs to do amazing things, and have access to the same Microsoft tools and resources to work together to create and seize new opportunities.”
A case in point is John-Son Oei, a bright and young entrepreneur who is the founder of EPIC Homes – a social initiative that constructs modular, prefabricated homes for Malaysia’s Orang Asli indigenous population. John-Son, a member of Innovate for Good and also a Microsoft YouthSpark Star, met fellow Malaysians and app developers, team DreamX, at an Innovate for Good event and together, they developed an online platform to collect, organize, and manage information on EPIC’s volunteers, donations, indigenous homeowners, and other resources.
“Young entrepreneurs are drivers of economic development today. It is critical that we support them in order to leverage and realize their innovative ideas, and also to empower them to contribute positively to society. Programs like Innovate for Good provide platforms for young entrepreneurs around the world to gain knowledge and become changemakers to help solve local and global socio-economic challenges,” said Rahman.
“Since Microsoft established its presence in this country 20 years ago, our technology has helped transform the way people work, learn, play and communicate. Social entrepreneurship is becoming increasingly important and is highly needed for economic and social development as it adds both economic and social values, helping create new employment opportunities and at the same time – with the help of technology – providing unconventional products and services that contribute to addressing societal needs and confront them in innovative ways. We share the Government’s emphasis on driving a knowledge- and innovation-based economy, and we are committed to supporting the Government’s efforts in this same breath to empower our youth to make a real difference for the nation and build a better future for all,” Lacerda emphasized.
Khairy added, “We look forward to working with private sector entities such as Microsoft to create programs that are in tune with the Government’s aspirations to prepare the best environment for youth development.”
Aspiring young Malaysians can find out more about Innovate for Good by visiting the Innovate for Good website.