Shad Valley, Pathways to Education and More Win 2015 Youthspark Grants from Microsoft

Four programs in Canada that foster youth development in science and technology have been awarded 2015 Microsoft Canada Youthspark grants. Shad Valley, Pathways to Education, Kids Learning Code and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada were the lucky recipients. 

The grants and today’s Ottawa event are part of Microsoft’s efforts to help provide young people with opportunities for entrepreneurship, education, employment and skills development.

“I believe that entrepreneurship allows young people to take control of their career destiny,” said Miki Agrawal, a social entrepreneur who’s book “Do Cool Sh*t: Quit Your Day Job, Start Your Own Business, and Live Happily Ever After” has won high praise and popularity.  “Technology makes it possible for anyone to turn a great idea into a successful business, which is why events like YouthSpark: Inspire the Future are critical; they give students the tools they need to follow their passion.”

Shad Valley is a four week summer enrichment program where students spend a month living in residence at one of several host university campuses across Canada. It’s office is in Waterloo.

Pathways to Education helps youth in low-income communities graduate from high school and successfully transition into post-secondary education, and operates in 16 communities across Canada.

Kids Learning Code is a camp is for girls and boys between the ages of 8 and 13 run by Ladies Learning Code, a non-profit based in Toronto “working to empower everyone to feel comfortable learning beginner-friendly technical skills in a social, collaborative way.”

Finally, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada, the well-established, Canada-wide non-profit that helps children experience new opportunities, overcome barriers, build positive relationships and develop confidence and skills for life.

The announcement was made at YouthSpark: Inspire the Future, an event connecting Ottawa-area youth with local developers and business leaders. Microsoft is hosting the event to inspire youth to use entrepreneurship and technology to “solve some of society’s greatest challenges.”

Along with YouthSpark: Inspire the Future, Microsoft also recently hosted 100 students at YouthSpark Live, at their headquarters in Mississauga, Ontario.

“Youth unemployment and under-employment is a significant societal challenge and we believe that entrepreneurship is one of the keys to addressing the problem,” said Microsoft Canada’s Michael Hilliard. “At Microsoft Canada, we are committed to using technology to help youth imagine and realize their full potential; events like YouthSpark: Inspire the Future help us accomplish that.”

Earlier this month, Microsoft also announced the opening of the Microsoft Canada Excellence Centre in Vancouver. As part of the program, Microsoft established Foundry Vancouver which provides 50 paid internships per year for design and development students enrolled in Canadian universities.



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