Inspiring Young UK Entrepreneurs with Royal Help

The iDEA Programme is, well, a good idea. I just wanted to get that pun out of the way before I explain why Microsoft has thrown their support behind this important programme.

iDEA is all about inspiring young people in the UK to be more entrepreneurial. This non-profit org was created to help more than a million young people (ages 14 to 25) pursue their own ideas, develop their own digital skills, and get exposure to the reality of business -- all over the next five years.

It's such a good idea that Microsoft Ventures has partnered with the Nominet Trust and the Duke of York to help kick off and support the programme, which officially launched on 15 October, 2014 and is open to students and teachers all across the UK.

"We mark the difference between beta and live," The Duke of York said at the iDEA launch at Buckingham Palace.

Microsoft Ventures and iDEA believe that entrepreneurship is a viable career option for young, bright people. By nurturing the creativity and enterprising spirit in the next generation, iDEA will plant the seeds for the small and medium-sized businesses of tomorrow.

Although this is a UK initiative, the iDEA Programme is a great example that can be mirrored globally. We hope it will serve as a model and inspire similar programmes around the world so young people can learn digital skills and build the next big ideas that will shape our world.

The concept is perhaps best communicated by George the Poet in his amazing iDEA Poem "All Existence is Contribution".

As the original tech start-up and one of the biggest technology companies in the world, Microsoft feels a responsibility to encourage more young people to consider a career in technology and computing. With Microsoft Ventures, we've demonstrated our commitment to the success of startups on a global scale. Partnering with the Nominet Trust and the Duke of York made perfect sense to us, since it helps us support our goals of fostering the next generation of big thinkers.

So how will Microsoft support the iDEA Programme? To start, we’ll help iDEA entrepreneurs by giving them access to Dreamspark, a programme which provides students with access to professional-level developer and design tools free of charge. It’s a fantastic resource that will allow these young people to explore the world of computing and to develop their passions and skills.

We'll also create a set of digital badges that young people can take up to get certified in our technologies. Each badge is based on a specific set of digital or enterprise skills, and it's a great way for the young people in the program to build up their CVs and demonstrate that they’ve acquired some real-world expertise.

We hope you'll help us spread the word about this fantastic initiative to young people, teachers and others you know in the UK who might be interested in getting involved.

To find out more about iDEA, check out this video or visit their website at www.onemillionyoungideas.org.uk.

Microsoft Ventures Accelerator London is now accepting applications for its March 2015 class. Apply today at https://aka.ms/applysm1. To get a taste of what's in store, listen to what our startups had to say: https://aka.ms/insidemsva1.