The Harvard Social Enterprise Conference, named among the top 12 most influential and exclusive executive gatherings by Forbes.com, took place this past weekend, on the heels of President Obama’s education reform announcement on Friday.
HP, a partner in the President’s Educate to Innovate program, was front and center at the event, which brought together more than 1,200 influencers, social entrepreneurs and students for a discussion on driving sustainable change as it related to key issues such as education.
Gabi Zedlmayer, vice president of global social innovation, HP, was part of the 2011 speaker line-up and discussed educating the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Gabi highlighted the importance of arming future entrepreneurs with the business and technology skills needed to start and run a successful venture. (You can see her presentation at the bottom of this post).
“Small-business pioneers are the key to creating new jobs and boosting economies across the globe, yet many aspiring entrepreneurs are lacking the skills needed to launch and build these businesses. We’re committed to providing educators, students and young entrepreneurs with the knowledge and tools necessary to address challenges in their communities and around the world,” said Zedlmayer.
A couple examples of HP’s education-focused programs include:
- HP Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs (HP LIFE) helps build skills and channel the inventive spirit of the world’s aspiring entrepreneurs; to date, HP has invested more than $20 million in the program which has impacted more than half a million entrepreneurs. HP LIFE consists of a series of community training centers in more than 45 countries with low-income areas, high unemployment rates and limited access to job opportunities, with the goal of building IT and business skills among social innovators.
- HP also recently joined President Obama’s Startup America coalition. The coalition is recognizing both HP LIFE and HP Startup Central, a collaborative ecosystem of technology incubators, investor communities and entrepreneur support organizations which fuels innovation and business growth for startups, as founding entities.
- The Catalyst initiative is another program focused on giving the next generation of entrepreneurs a strong foundation in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through the development of a worldwide network of STEM experts and educators.
You can read more about HP’s initiatives in social innovation here.