Ethical Performance
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HP establishes IT centres to support small firms

September 2006

Hewlett-Packard is to aid the growth of small businesses in deprived areas through a new Microenterprise Acceleration Programme (MAP) that offers information technology and business training to entrepreneurs.

The company will sponsor 35 MAP training centres in Europe, the Middle East and Africa for mainly low-income owners of small businesses. The centres will provide business-related technology training – such as how to use computers to design and print marketing brochures – so that entrepreneurs can use IT to increase the size of their businesses. HP’s investment in this work to date has amounted to several million euros.

The scheme will be run through the Microenterprise Acceleration Institute, a newly founded non-governmental organization financially supported by HP, and in co-operation with local chambers of commerce.

‘The smallest of small businesses are the biggest source of new jobs in the world, but their owners generally have limited access to technology and no knowledge about how to use IT to grow their business,’ said Didier Philippe, president of the Microenterprise Acceleration Institute. Philippe said results from an HP pilot programme in Italy were encouraging.

He added that HP saw a business case for supporting the centres ‘because the more that small companies know how to use IT, the more will buy IT equipment, some of which could be HP products’. There will be MAP training centres in Egypt, Ireland, Israel, Malta, Nigeria, Portugal and Russia.

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