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Accenture puts $200m in skills

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Supporting its vision to improve the way the world works and lives, Accenture is committing more than US$200 million over the next three years to help equip disadvantaged people with job skills for the digital age.

“As a technology leader, we have an obligation to apply new scalable technology solutions to help solve complex societal challenges,” said Pierre Nanterme, Accenture’s chairman and CEO. “Our investments will continue to empower Accenture to produce socially minded partnerships and programs that will have a profound impact on the lives of millions of people throughout the world, now and for the future.”

Accenture’s commitment will help support Skills to Succeed, Tech4Good, Accenture Development Partnerships and related Accenture initiatives.

The company’s Skills to Succeed initiative advances employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, leveraging digital innovation to help close employment gaps at scale. Together with a network of nonprofits and other ecosystem partners, Accenture has since 2010 equipped more than 2.2 million people with the skills to get a job or build a business, with a goal of equipping a total of more than 3 million people by 2020.

In South Africa, Skills to Succeed has already equipped thousands of people with job skills since 2015, with the vast majority of them gaining employment in digital, software development and business process services. One Skills to Succeed programme in the country is CE3 in rural KwaZulu-Natal, which serves as a catalyst for local economic development. The programme strengthens existing businesses, creates employment opportunities and builds new businesses through, among other things, the provision of clean, affordable electricity.

Examples of other Accenture’s Skills to Succeed partnerships include:

  • Helping Youth Business USA develop a platform that uses artificial intelligence and analytics to connect young entrepreneurs from under-represented communities with the resources, skills, training and mentoring needed to grow their business.
  • Working with Rede Cidadã and Instituto Ser Mais in Brazil to provide low-income populations with the business and technical skills they need to build meaningful, lasting careers in technology, including the opportunity to be hired by Accenture.

Accenture’s Tech4Good projects use advanced technologies to help solve critical challenges facing business and society. For instance, the company collaborated with The Grameen Foundation India, using technologies from AI to augmented reality, to help disadvantaged people improve their financial literacy to enhance their financial and social well-being. In collaboration with Club Egalité, Accenture Labs in Sophia Antipolis, France, is developing a virtual-reality game that helps primary and middle school students explore future-proof jobs and develop critical skills for the digital economy, with the goal of encouraging an interest in STEM careers.

Accenture Development Partnerships works across government, business and civil society, applying business and technology solutions to build capacity and strengthen programs for development organizations around the globe. For example, Accenture collaborated with the Spanish Ministry of Employment and a consortium of nonprofit partners and corporations in 2013 to create Emplea+, an online program that helps marginalized individuals develop technical, digital and soft skills needed for employment.

“The opportunity to improve lives requires collaboration across business, government and non-governmental organizations,” Nanterme said. “As leaders weigh new technologies and applications, we all must ask ourselves: Does this benefit the next generation? If the answer is yes, it’s the right thing to do.”

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Welcome to world of 2099

The world of 2099 will be unrecognisable from the world of today, but it can be predicted, says one visionary. ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK met him in Singapore.

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Futuristic structures tower over the landscape. Giant, alien-looking trees light up with dazzling colours amid the hundreds of plant species that grow up their trunks. Cosmetic stores sell their wares via public touch-screens, with products delivered instantly in drawers below the screens.

This is not a vision of the future. It is a sample of Singapore today. But it is also an inkling of the world we may all experience in the future.

Singapore was the venue, last week, of the World Cities Summit, where engineers, politicians, investors and visionaries rubbed shoulders as they talked about the strategies and policies that would enhance urban living in the future.

As part of the Summit, global payment technologies leader Mastercard hosted a small media briefing by one of Singapore’s leading thinkers about the future, Dr Damian Tan, managing director of Vickers Venture Partners. The company’s slogan “We invest in the extraordinary,” offers a small clue to Tan’s perspective.

“We look as far forward as 2099 because, as a venture capital firm, we invest in the long term,” he tells a group of journalists from Africa and the Middle East. “Companies explode in growth because there is value in the future. If there is no growth, they won’t explode.”

The big question that the Smart Cities Summit and Mastercard are trying to help answer is, what will cities look like in the year 2099? Tan can’t give an exact answer, but he offers a framework that helps one approach the question.

“If you want to look at 81 years into the future, and understand the change that will come, you need to double that amount and look into the past. That takes us to 1856. The difference between then and now is the difference you can expect between now and 2099.”

  •    Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee and on YouTube

Use the page links below to continue reading about Tan’s visions.

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Win a Poster Heater with Gadget and Takealot.com

This winter Gadget and Takealot.com are giving away three Poster Heaters, which look like posters but become heaters when you plug them in.

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Three Gadget readers will each win a unit, valued at R550 each. To enter, follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter and tell us on the @GadgetZA account how many Watts the heater consumes.

What’s the big deal about these heaters? Many of us are struggling to keep the balance between soaring electricity costs and the need to keep warm this winter.

However, the recently launched Poster Heater by EasyHeat and distributed in South Africa by Takealot.com is not only one of the most cost effective electric heaters currently on the market, it is also easy to setup and use.

As the name indicates, it is a poster similar to one you would hang on a wall. But, plug it in and it turns into a 300 Watt heater. The Poster Heater isn’t designed to heat hallways or large rooms, but rather smaller ones like a bedroom or a baby’s nursery or a dressing room.

It uses radiant heating, which means that it heats up in a couple of minutes and the heat is directed at the objects or people around it, quickly taking the chill out of the air and providing a comfortable ambient temperature.

The other advantage of radiant heating is that it doesn’t dry out the air like infrared or gas heaters. Users also don’t have to worry about their children or pets getting too close to it because, even though it gets hot, it can be touched.

To enter the competition follow the steps below:

Competition entry details:

1. Follow @GadgetZA and @Takealot on Twitter. (We will ONLY be accepting entries via Twitter, so please don’t enter through the comments section of this article.)

2. Tell us on Twitter, via @GadgetZA, mentioning @Takealot in your posting, how many Watts the Poster Heater consumes.

cleardot.gif3. The competition closes on 31 July 2018.

4. Winners will be notified via Twitter on 1 August and Takealot.com will be in touch to organise delivery.

5. The competition is only open to South African residents.

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