As we move into a cloud-first, mobile-first world, software or apps will inevitably become a staple in our lives. Understanding this, the government of Makassar city, Indonesia, is working with Microsoft to develop its local software ecosystem and enable youths to be better equipped for the requirements of the new world.
Under the collaboration, Microsoft will provide educational institutions in Makassar with access to the cloud-based Office 365 and a variety of skills training, said the city's Mayor Ir. H Mohammad Ramdhan Pomanto in an exclusive interview. "Providing greater access to education through Office 365 will provide youths with opportunities to engage in future entrepreneurial activities as they will be ready to address the needs of the cloud-first, mobile-first world," he added.
Besides aiming to inspire youths to be digital entrepreneurs, the Makassar government also hopes to encourage these youths to use their skills to make the city a better place to live in, said the Mayor.
One way of doing so was through the CityApp Appathon competition held in Makassar last October, which was hosted by the Makassar government, Microsoft and CITYNET. The competition saw close to 500 high school and varsity students using Microsoft's offerings to create apps that could tackle the city's urban challenges, such as unemployment, healthcare, skills training and workforce development, education savings, and safer city.
Team UIN Alauddin Makassar emerged as the winner of the competition with its MACCA app. The app crowdsources relevant free training programs for users to enhance their skills and also provides job opportunities to its database of job seekers. Given its relevance to the city's unemployment situation, the app will be further developed for wider use by Makassar citizens in future, said the Mayor.
Besides providing solutions and training, Microsoft is also offering its BizSpark programme to help Makassar grow its local software ecosystem. "Microsoft will help foster new businesses and innovators through the resources and support made available through the programme," the Mayor commented.
Startups under the programme will not only gain access to coaching from Microsoft's global community of advisors, investors and partners, but also Microsoft's offerings. Offerings include Office 365, SQL Server, Microsoft Azure and Visual Studio, as well as business and technical support.
Using tech to better serve the citizens
According to the Mayor, the city's partnership with Microsoft is part of its Makassar Smart City project. Launched in November 2014, the project aims to result in better citizen engagement and improved government efficiency.
Since the project is still in its early stages, the city is currently in the process of compiling the data required to begin work on implementing its smart city infrastructure, said the Mayor. He added that the city is also working closely with Microsoft and PT Telekom to develop better Wi-Fi access in urban areas and improve access to government information.
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