Since 2005, Microsoft and the ASEAN Foundation have been collaborating to promote the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to support the development of micro entrepreneurs nationwide in Indonesia. To date, these activities have benefitted more than 10,000 people including farmers, small medium enterprises (SMEs), and students. To bring the collaboration to a higher level, starting this year, both have embarked on a project which is more regional in nature, titled "Enhancing ICT Skills of Small Medium Enterprises in ASEAN", to include not only Indonesia, but also Thailand, the Philippines, and Viet Nam.
Following the successful launching of the Project last September 2012 at the ASEAN Foundation in Jakarta, a kick-off coordination meeting that brought together the ASEAN Foundation, Microsoft Community Affairs Manager from the four countries involved, took place in Microsoft Regional Headquarter in Singapore on 2 – 5 October 2012.
The main agenda of the meeting was to discuss about the detail preparation and work plan of the Project. During the coordination meeting, the ASEAN Foundation briefed Microsoft on the updates to date, including the development of training curriculum, identification of responsibilities of local partner in the four countries to be spelled out in the working agreement, to name a few.
Apart from that, it was discussed also regarding the implementation plan of the Project in each country. For Thailand portion, another USD 20,000.00 will be granted in addition to the approved budgeted amount. Active support from local Microsoft Community Affairs Manager in Thailand has made this possible.
On a separate meeting, Microsoft and the ASEAN Foundation spent time to discuss specifically about the development of training curriculum for the Project, which received valuable inputs from Microsoft on the selection of technology plan to be included in the curriculum currently being developed.
On the occasion, the ASEAN Foundation had the chance to meet with Mr. Jeff Bullwinkel, Assistant General, Counsel, and Regional Director, Legal and Corporate Affairs Asia-Pacific and Japan, and Mr. John Galligan, Regional Director, Government Relations, Legal and Corporate Affairs, who explored possibility of other collaboration between the two organisations in the Southeast Asia Region.
Through this Project, it is expected that the ASEAN Foundation will be able to contribute to addressing the issue of poverty alleviation by empowering SMEs with ICT-based business practices that eventually leads to the improvement of their life.