TechnoServe Receives Major Software Grant from Microsoft

$2.9 million in-kind contribution is a key element in overall systems upgrade to support rapid growth

AUGUST 25, 2008 —Washington, DC—TechnoServe announced that it has received a $2.9 million software grant from Microsoft Corp.

The grant will enable TechnoServe, an organization empowering people in the developing world to build businesses that break the cycle of poverty, to upgrade and standardize information technology tools across its network of offices in Africa, Latin America and India. The applications include the Microsoft Office system (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Project and Visio) as well as popular server applications and server operating systems such as Exchange, SQL Server, SharePoint and Outlook.

“This couldn’t come at a more critical time,” says TechnoServe President and CEO Bruce McNamer. “We use these tools every day and recognize that technology is one of the keys to maximizing our opportunity to grow.”

The comprehensive software upgrade enables TechnoServe staff to communicate and share knowledge more effectively with each other as well as with clients and supporters. This is crucial as TechnoServe programming expands rapidly. For example, in just the past 18 months, the organization dramatically expanded its programs and impact, benefiting nearly 50 percent more people than the year before. We began working in India, Brazil and Rwanda, and laid the groundwork to launch programs in Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador and Venezuela. TechnoServe also worked with more clients in more industries, such as jatropha and organic cotton. To implement these programs, more staff was hired, bringing the number of employees worldwide to more than 500.

A more informed and flexible global network will allow TechnoServe to have a greater impact in developing communities to assist people build businesses that will help lift themselves and their families out of poverty. TechnoServe pursues this mission with the support of a broad range of partners and donors, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“Microsoft is proud that our technology can help TechnoServe realize its potential,” says Akhtar Badshah, senior director of community affairs at Microsoft. “We believe that technology is an enabler, and that organizations like TechnoServe are demonstrating that it can be applied in innovative ways across wide networks to drive positive social change.”

The systems upgrade initiative is being managed from TechnoServe’s U.S. offices in Norwalk, CT and Washington, DC, and will encompass all 24 of its field offices in Africa, Latin America and India. More than 500 staff and volunteer consultants will use the enhanced tools to implement programming that will benefit more than 1 million people in 2008 alone.

About TechnoServe: TechnoServe is leading a movement that empowers people in the developing world to build businesses that break the cycle of poverty. Growing enterprises generate jobs and other income opportunities for poor people, enabling them to improve their lives and secure a better future for their families. Since its founding in 1968, the U.S.-based nonprofit has helped to create or expand thousands of businesses, benefiting millions of people in more than 30 countries. The Financial Times has rated TechnoServe one of the top five NGOs for corporate partnerships. Charity Navigator has also awarded its highest Four Star ranking to TechnoServe.