The ASEAN Foundation Project funded by Microsoft: Enhancing ICT Skills of Small Medium Enterprises in ASEAN was launched on 19 April 2013 in Bangkok and is now reaching towards its closure. Within the framework of Microsoft Thailand’s global programme “Microsoft Youth Spark”, thousands of young entrepreneurs in Viet Nam, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines have been empowered with the necessary ICT skills that will enable them to successfully run small medium enterprises (SMEs). “The implementation of this project allows us to take the next step in closing the opportunity gap by providing young people with the access, skills and opportunities to be successful entrepreneurs”, said Siriporn Pajharawat, Developer and Platform Strategy Director of Microsoft Thailand.
In Thailand, the project was implemented by the Research Center of Communication and Development Knowledge Management (CCDKM), in partnership with Microsoft Thailand and the ASEAN Foundation. In the first phase of the project, 41 participants attended two Training of Trainers (ToT) workshops organized and delivered in Buriam and Nakhon Si Thammarat provinces. Subsequently, eight training workshops on basic ICT skills for business startups were organized and delivered by ten trained trainers in the North East and South of Thailand (Songkhla, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Buriram, Roi Et, Nongbua Lamphu). Young aspiring entrepreneurs between 18-26 attended the workshops and learned about Operation and Management tools, basic Financial literacy, Communications and Marketing, IT security and data protection. “The Microsoft tools made available during the training make it easier to manage budgets and market my products”, said Zai from Non Din Dang District.
Many participants also found the training on Word Press, website development, and blogging very useful to promote their community businesses, especially tourism. “Now that I have learned how to create my own website, I feel more independent as I do not need to hire anyone to create and maintain my website. This is a big saving!” said Gift, a young entrepreneur from Non Din Dang District. Her district hosts many touristic destinations. Young entrepreneurs usually attend fairs and set up booths to promote their tourism packages. With the acquired new media and social media skills, they are now able to market their services beyond borders and worldwide.
The series of trainings that took place in Thailand raised excitement among young entrepreneurs. Youth are eager to learn the 21st century skills that will enable them to become successful players not only in their communities and societies, but also in the global economy.