Feature Story: 05. June 2008
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Thinking big: HP raises the bar with 2008 Micro Enterprise Development Grants

Overview

  • » From strength to strength
  • » Setting the standard
  • » New friends, lasting partnerships
Borne out of a passionate commitment to investing, not only in burgeoning enterprises, but in the economic and social wellbeing of the communities they support, HP’s Micro Enterprise Development Grants Program has, with the announcement of the recipients for 2008, again proven itself a highly valuable development initiative for the Asia Pacific region.

This year HP awarded 23 micro development agencies and programs with HP technology, cash and training programs to the value of ,000 each. The recipients, from a handful of Asia Pacific countries, including India, China, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia, represent a broad cross-section of micro-development agencies and programs that provide start-up assistance, business training and advice to entrepreneurs and very small businesses:

India
  • South India Producer’s Association
  • Tide Development Research Foundation
  • Dhriiti
  • FOOD India
  • Saransh
  • Development Alternatives Group
  • Centre for Entrepreneurship Development of Karnataka
  • Enable a Child
  • Entrepreneurship Development Institute
  • AWAKE


China

  • Hubei Honghu Lake Wetland Fisherfolk Program (China Association for Employment Promotion)
  • Hubei Shiyan Singe Laid-Off or Unemployed Women Program (China Association for Employment Promotion)
  • Jiangsu Xinhua Country Women Program (China Association for Employment Promotion)
  • Country Workers Environment Business Development Program (Fuping Development Institute)
  • Youth Business China

Thailand

  • Education Development Center (BangkokNoi)

Indonesia

  • ASEAN Foundation
  • New Ventures Indonesia

Australia

  • Business Enterprise Centre
  • Mission Australia

From strength to strength

Though credited as the biggest source of new job opportunities globally, micro enterprises are often constrained by low skills and lack of competitiveness, resulting in low productivity and low rates of success. What has been proven as a significant help to the growth and development of micro enterprises is the provision of information and communications technology. By providing the organisations that work to assist micro enterprise with these tools, HP has been able to have a positive effect in many communities throughout the world. And the results have been not only swift, but impressive.

“When you see what recipient organisations from 2007 have achieved over the last 12 months, you understand the crucial role corporate investment can play in helping communities, particularly those facing substantial economic challenges,” said Cecilia Pang, Vice President, Corporate Marketing, Asia Pacific and Japan.

“Not only are people given the opportunity to plant the seeds of self-sufficiency, but, as is the case in many situations, their hard work and entrepreneurial spirit has a flow-on effect that influences and benefits many others.”

To begin with, 849 entrepreneurs from around the region have completed HP Micro Enterprise Development training through the 2007 grants program. Of these, many have gone on to greater success, including:

HP has been acknowledged for its role in helping communities help themselves, with the program recently recognised as a Top Ten Labor & Employment Initiative by the Hubei Provincial Government in China.

An initiative in Yingshan County, in the Hubei Province, was established after being selected for a Development Grant in 2007. It has, to date, provided 93 local residents with business training and 220 with employment opportunities.

“At HP, we believe combining technology with creative and effective partnerships is an ideal way to generate real economic and social value for the world’s communities” said Cecilia Pang.

“This is a fantastic example of that belief in action and we’re immensely proud to be honoured by the Hubei Provincial Government.”

Setting the standard

To be eligible for consideration, all past and present Grants recipients had to fulfil a range of requirements.

Not-for-profit, the organisation had to demonstrate that its program supported the unemployed or underrepresented groups in the community. The organisation also had to be able to provide evidence of a sustainable business model and that it could support the minimum staffing and technical requirements.

Proposals submitted by organisations were judged against a set of key criteria, including; how the technology and training curriculum would benefit the organisation and community; details of the organisation’s milestones and future aims; a three-year sustainability plan; evidence of previous successes or positive social impacts; and the number of people expected to benefit from the Grant.

New friends, lasting partnerships

Once Grants have been awarded, HP continues its relationship with recipients. At regular intervals throughout the year, HP checks in with organisations as part of a ground breaking monitoring and evaluation process, which includes extensive surveys with beneficiaries to gauge the effectiveness of the program.

The program provides important measurement of economic rates of return of the program, including how its investment translates into economic benefits for the beneficiaries and the overall value of the social impact for the relevant communities. It also enables HP to accurately report on the results of the program to its stakeholders, as well as ensure the program continues to meet its objectives.

While the monitoring and evaluation process is crucial to determining the efficiency and success of the Micro Enterprise Development Grants program, the response and actions of one recipient organisation has proven that, among beneficiaries at least, the program is a surefire winner.

The Association of Women Entrepreneurs of Karnataka (AWAKE) in India was a Grants beneficiary in 2007. AWAKE has been empowering women and promoting self-reliance, especially among rural women, for 25 years. So enthusiastic was the organisation for the benefits of the Grants Program, they turned their hand to promotion, singing its praises to other organisations via announcements on All India Radio.

HP looks forward to working alongside their communities in 2009.

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