The challenges that our society faces must be addressed on a global level—and Hewlett Packard (HP) is committed to doing just that. Through the company’s worldwide reach and uniquely broad array of products and services—plus the invaluable expertise of its employees—HP supports world-changing programs that need assistance as part of good corporate citizenship.
The HP Social Innovation office is dedicated to the issue of Entrepreneurship Education, and is working with organizations that are helping recent graduates, young people and aspiring leaders acquire the IT skills and knowledge required to succeed in the global economy, launch businesses and help their local communities prosper.
Entrepreneurs are crucial to driving economic growth and job creation; they start and run the small businesses that are the engine of the global economy. Micro-enterprises employ more people—and create more jobs—than any other type of venture?
Entrepreneurs are the leaders behind innovation. They’re a font of groundbreaking ideas and a catalyst for changes that affect how larger companies and industries function.
Still, a thriving business is hard to create without the right business and information technology skills—and educational systems haven’t yet evolved to meet the demands of the 21st century. Access to basic training and technologies is limited, especially when you factor in economic and cultural forces that are stacked against recent graduates, particularly women.
That’s where HP LIFE (Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs)—in partnership with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO, Micro-Enterprise Acceleration Institute (MEA-I), Education Development Center (EDC) and World ORT—comes in. The program combines face-to-face training and online tools to address the educational needs of students, regardless of their backgrounds, locations or circumstances. These virtual tools and games allow students to access training virtually anywhere.
All online training, tools and resources are free for students all over the world—including the US, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The goal of the HP LIFE program is to reach more than 500,000 graduates and social innovators by the end of 2010.
One of the key components to HP LIFE’s success is the network of trainers in each world region. HP and MEA-I work with more than 200 organizations around the world to deliver training, with master trainers providing courses to student trainers, sharing best practices and new online and offline tools to strengthen the program. This work with local organizations is essential—it ensures that young entrepreneurs receive training customized to meet local conditions and it also enables HP’s partners to achieve their goals in addressing specific community challenges.
The foundations for HP LIFE are HP’s successful GET-IT, HELP and MAP education and training programs. GET-IT, the Graduate Entrepreneurship Training through IT program, develops business and IT skills in young people and recent graduates, ages 16−25, comprising a network of 100 community training centers in more than 30 countries with low-income areas, high unemployment rates and limited access to job opportunities. HELP, the HP Entrepreneurship Learning Program, supports the growth of micro-enterprises in communities across Asia experiencing high unemployment or economic decline. Finally, MAP, Micro-enterprise Acceleration Program, provides small and medium businesses access to technology and training that help them accelerate and sustain business growth and economic opportunity.
Since the launch of these programs, HP and its partners have reached more than 100,000 students, recent graduates and young entrepreneurs in over 45 countries. Many have gone on to found successful businesses, which have helped transform their local communities.
It’s a simple yet powerful equation. By training recent graduates, aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners on essential business and IT skills, HP LIFE can help change millions of lives worldwide.