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Empowering people to become entrepreneurs—and job creators

By Ed Steidl on December 14, 2016

Filed under Microsoft in Government

What do my aha moment and Microsoft’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have in common? They both inspired the creation of our new Microsoft Innovation Center (MIC) entrepreneurial program.

As I wrote in my last blog, my aha moment arose from two MIC student questions that underscored the need to help people develop a creative, entrepreneurial mindset.

Our MICs already had a number of offerings focused on hard skills such as IT or business management proficiency to enable job seekers. Now, with our entrepreneurial program, we’ve added offerings focused on softer skills such as ideation to empower job creators. So the program not only helps answer those two student questions, it’s part of our efforts to empower people around the world to stimulate their local economies—and deliver on our commitment to the United Nations SDG number eight: Decent work and economic growth.

Stimulating growth in the fourth industrial revolution

Technology plays an increasing role in everything we do. It’s shaping growth, disrupting industry landscapes, and providing the catalyst for transformation. This digital transformation is being called the fourth industrial revolution and it’s moving at a pace faster than any of the previous three. That creates the need—and opportunity—to innovate faster than ever before.

If we equip people with the skills and tools they need to innovate in today’s world, they can be empowered to come up with new products and services that address emerging needs as well as enable new approaches to age-old problems. In other words, they can take advantage of the opportunities brought about by digital transformation to create economic growth and solve challenges in their local ecosystem.

Three components of entrepreneurial program

Our entrepreneurial program is designed to help people do just that. It offers resources to help people learn how to come up with an idea, test their idea, and take it to the marketplace. It’s comprised of three components that support entrepreneurs wherever they are on their journey—from concepting to development to acceleration.

The first component of the program is our Ideation workshops, which I wrote about in my last blog. They’re based on the research of Stanford University Professor Dr. Tina Seelig, who authored the book “Insight Out: Get Ideas Out of Your Head and Into the World.”

The second component is a three-day pitch-to-prototype workshop, which is based on content from our partner Lean Startup Machine. In these workshops, students learn how to pitch and test their idea. They develop experiments to use with customers so they can evaluate the market-readiness of their concept. Attendees come out of the three days with a repeatable process they can use to further their existing idea or to use on their next one.

The third component of the MIC entrepreneurial program is the Microsoft Accelerators three-day boot camp. It’s designed to help early stage technology startups succeed. We’ve taken what we’ve learned working with thousands of startups around the world and condensed it into three intense training days that cover business development topics such as go-to-market, marketing, funding, and recruiting.

All three of the components will be rolled out in our MICs across the globe.

You can learn more about our MICs and find a location near you on the MIC webpage.

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