Microsoft’s Public-Private Partnerships Empower Underserved People Around the World – Stories

REDMOND,Wash。

March20,2007In2003,allgovernmentprocurementinChilewasmovedonlinethroughaportalcalledChileCompra。

Notonlydiditmakeeverytransactiontransparent,resultinginimprovedaccountabilityandcostsavingsforthegovernment,butitalsocreatedacentralonlinelocationforallbusinessesacrossthecountrylookingtobidonanyandallgovernmentcontracts。

Sincetheportalsintroduction,thenumberofbidspergovernmentprojecthasmorethantripledfrom1。

7to5。

7,andthetotalnumberofcompaniesregisteredtobidhasgrowntomorethan200,000。

IncreasedcompetitionandefficiencysavestaxpayersUS$60millionayear,thegovernmentestimatesgoodforthegovernmentandgoodforthevendors。

Theonecatchbusinessesmusthaveaccesstotechnology,ortheycantparticipateintheonlinee-procurementportal。

ThegovernmentofChilerecognizedthisissueandworkedwithMicrosoftandotherpartnerstocreateasolutiontoensuregreateraccesstoChileCompraandgovernmentbusiness。

Beginningnextmonth,tensofthousandsofsmall-andmicro-businessownersinChilewhodontownPCswillnolongerbeleftoutorhavetomakefrequenttripstotheirlocalicafetofindandbidongovernmentprojects。

Instead,aMicrosoftPartnershipsforTechnologyAccess(PTA)program,calledMiPYMEAvanza(MySmallBusinessGrows)willprovideaffordableaccesstoPCs,thelatestsoftwareandtrainingthroughlow-interest,unsecuredloans。

Theprogramisoneofmorethan50nowunderwayorplannedfromEgypttoArgentina,MexicotoSouthAfricasinceMicrosoftintroducedthePTAinitiativeattheMicrosoftGovernmentLeadersForum(GLF)AmericasinMarch2006。

Theinitiativecombinestheknow-howandresourcesofgovernments,technologycompanies,banksandnon-governmentalorganizations(NGOs)toprovidecreativemicro-financingandpurchasingarrangements,alongwithtrainingandotherresources,topeopleandbusinessthatcantotherwiseaffordPCs。

Theprogramsaredesignedtoincreaseeconomicandsocialopportunitythroughincreasedaccesstotechnology。

Manyaddresslongstanding,localchallengeswithintheirregionssuchaseducationreforminGuatemala,andseniorcitizenaccesstogovernmentprogramsandservicesinArgentina。

ByJune30,2007,Microsoftexpectstheinitiativetohaveintroduced500,000PCsintheseunderservedsegmentsworldwide,aswellascreatedanuntoldnumberofnewjobsandothereconomicopportunities。

ProvidingaccesstotechnologyforunderservedcitizensisanimportantgoalforMicrosoft,saysDianaPallais,PTADirectoratMicrosoft。

Whenwedoitinpartnershipwithgovernments,andweembedtheinitiativeinthecontextofanexistinggovernmentpriorityorprogram,thebenefitsareamplifiedbeyondthebenefitofputtingaPCpurchasewithinreachofalow-incomecitizen。

Wecanalsohelpthegovernmentagencyimprovethewaytheyservetheirconstituencyandinnovateontheirservicedeliverymenu。

ThePCinessencebecomesavehicleforthecitizentobebetterservedbyagovernmentagencythathasvitalsignificancetothemthepensionagencyforretirees,theeducationbureauforteachers,theprocurementportalforsmallbusinesses。

CreativeFinancingExpandsPCAccess

IntheNovember2005issueofTheEconomist,anarticletitledHiddenWealthofthePoornotedthatfiveoutofsixpeopleintheplanetfallintotheunbankedcategoryofpeoplewhodonothaveaccesstocreditbytheformalfinancialsector。

Thisisduetoacombinationofmarketandregulatoryfailures(suchasinsufficientassetassurance,identificationmethods,creditassessment,orrepaymentmethods)。

Takingthisintoaccount,Microsoftworkswiththegovernmenttousherintherightlevelofconfidenceorincentivesforfinancialinstitutionstoenablefreshaccesstocredittolargesegmentsoftheunbanked。

Thecompanydoesthisworldwideandvariesitsengagementdependingonthemarketsneeds。

InChile,forinstance,MiPYMEAvanzaoffersafavorableinterestrateona36-monthloan。

Thesmall-andmicro-businessownersdonthavetoofferanyformofcollateral。

WithoutMicrosoftsleadership,thispartnershipwouldnothaveexisted,saysTomasCampero,ChileangovernmentdirectorofAcquisitionsandPublicProcurement。

Theybuiltaconsortiumwhereeachofthestakeholderscontributesitsexpertiseandproductswithareasonableexpectedreturnoninvestment。

InArgentina,technologyaccesswasnttheprimarychallengetohelpingsmall-andmedium-sizedbusinessmoreeffectivelyuseIT。

ManyalreadyownPCs,butfewusethemformission-criticaltaskssuchastrackingsales,inventoryplanning,orcreatee-commerceWebsites,saysEstebanCorio,executivedirectorofanon-profitagencythatservessmallbusinesses,FUNDESArgentina。

HelpingthesebusinessesgrowisvitaltoArgentinasfuture。

Sincethecollapseofthecountrysfinancialmarketsin2002,thesebusinesseshavecreated95percentofnewjobsinthecountry,hesays。

CorioapproachedMicrosoftandIntelin2005withaplanthathasmorphedintoaPTAprogramcalledTransformaciónPYMEorTransformingtheSMB。

Theprogramprovidesthebusinessesafreeassessmentoftheirbasicbusinessskills,technologyaccommodationsforworkersanditsITinfrastructure。

Thosethatchoosetomaketherecommendedtechnologyupgradesareeligibleforgovernment-subsidized,low-interestloans。

WhenCorioneededfundingtocreateapilotprogram,MicrosoftandIntelsplitthe$35,000cost。

ThecompaniesalsorecruitedtheprovincialgovernmentsofBuenosAiresandSantaFetopayforhalfofthecostoftheconsultingforthefirst1,000companies。

Microsoftisveryactive,veryquick,Coriosays。

Itiscommittedtomakethiswork。

InEgypt,familiesintheNationonline:2010programcanusetheirhometelephoneservicetosecuretheirloan。

InMexico,all2,000homesinahousingdevelopmentforlow-andmiddle-incomefamiliesoutsideMexicoCitycomewithaPCandbroadbandInternetaccess。

PTApartnerswithInfonavit,afederalgovernmentmortgageagency,andhousingdeveloperRealParaisoResidencialInc,tobuildthecostofthePCintothe25-yearhomeloan。

Government-backedloansfundedthemajorityofanewPTAprograminGuatemala,providinglow-paidpublicschoolteachersaccesstoPCs,technologytrainingondemandandamodernclassroomcurriculumthatwillhelptheminnovate。

PresidentOscarBergerdeemstheprogramsovitaltoGuatemalaseducationreformplanthatthegovernmenthasagreedtocover80percentofthecostsforthefirstphaseoftheprogram,whichwillserve9,000teachers。

Interest-freeloansareavailablefortheremainderofthecost。

MakingComputingAffordableandAccessible

Inadditiontofocusingonmakingtechnologyaffordableandaccessible,MicrosoftsPTAprogramalsohelpsdesignanddeliversolutionsthatreflectlocalneedsandpublicpolicypriorities。

InEgypt,PTAprogramshavehelpedfosterthegrowthoflocallydevelopedsoftwareandhardware。

TheselectionofEgyptianprogramshasquadrupledtomorethan1,200。

Educationalsoftwareprograms,particularlythatforlearninglanguagesandcomputerskills,arenowbigsellers,asaretitlesthatdealwithEgyptianculture,religionandsports,saysMohamedAzzamofE-LearningandBusinessSolutionsUnion(eLABs),anonprofitorganizationrepresentingmorethan35EgyptiansoftwarecompaniesandinvolvedinseveralPTAprograms。

Marketing,technicalandotherassistancefromMicrosoftandotherPTApartnershashelpedEgyptianPCmanufacturersgettheirPCsintohypermarketsuperstores,wherepeoplecanpurchasethemwhileshoppingforshoes,towelsorotherhouseholdsupplies。

TheassistancehashelpedOverseasComputersofEgyptincreasesalesandthesizeofitsmanufacturingcrewfive-fold。

CompanyownerIslamGabrtakesprideinthepeoplewhohavebeenintroducedtothepowerofcomputingthroughhisPCs。

HerecountshowonecustomerusedanOverseasComputingPCthathepurchasedwhenhewasoutofworktocreateathrivingbusiness,typinglettersandothercorrespondenceforhisneighbors。

Themannowownsfivecomputersandemploysfouradditionalpeople。

Iamhappyformyself,formypeople,formycountry,Gabrsays。

EverydayIgotowork,IknowIamupgradingthelivesofthepeoplewhousemyPCs。

MicrosoftsPallaisfeelsthesamewayaboutthePTAprogram。

AccordingtoPallais,thePCsthatthecompanyisintroducingaroundtheworldaredoingmuchmorethansimplybridgingthedigitaldividethathasseparateddevelopedanddevelopingpartsoftheworldfordecades。

Digitalinclusionbyitselfisntenough,Pallaissays。

Withthisprogram,wevefoundawaytocombinethevastknowledgeandresourcesofpublicandprivateorganizationstotapthebenefitsofpublicagencies,andintheprocesshelpgovernmentagenciesinnovateintheirservicedelivery。

TheresultisaholisticsolutionwherethePCisameanstoasocio-economicend,andthebenefitchainaccruestowin-winsacrosstheboard。