After a sudden rise in the company’s stock prices, tech giant Microsoft has decided to invest a tiny portion of its profits in the Mexican border town, Ciudad Juárez. Microsoft does have any vested interest in this investment whatsoever, they want to support the growth of manufacturing supply chain companies on both sides of the border.
In a corporate event held in El Paso, Texas, Microsoft’s President Brad Smith announced the company’s plans to invest $1.5 million in the Bridge Accelerator program in and across the US border.
What is a Bridge Accelerator program? How will small startups or larger businesses in the El Paso or the Juarez area benefit from it?
The Bridge Accelerator is a highly specialized program for small business and manufacturing companies in El Paso and Juarez. Its main purpose is to encourage small business owners to become raw material suppliers to large manufacturers and maquiladoras(an assembly plant in Mexico near the border with the United States) in the Paso del Norte region. Data from SIDE and COPARMEX shows a lack of participation of locals in the growing manufacturing supply chain.
At the moment, the Bridge Accelerator program is not free of cost. Participants will have to pay a fee of $2,500. Here is how it will help a small business:
1. Participants will get to learn about the unique requirements of the manufacturing industry and also familiarize themselves with binational business culture.
2. Study models of intellectual property protection.
3. Attend specialized workshops and lectures conducted by industry experts.
What did Microsoft’s President Brad Smith say after the Oct. 14 event in El Paso?
After the event, Smith shared his development plans with the correspondent of the El Paso Times. This is what he said about the demographic “We decided if we’re going to fully invest in El Paso, it really makes sense to invest in Juárez as well. As everyone who lives in this community appreciates, this is not just one city on one side of the border, it’s really two cities that are part of a binational, bilingual and bicultural community.”
Besides, he also talked a bit about how technology can bring people of the US and Mexico together so they could share their knowledge and culture. He said, “When it comes to creating new technology and showing people how to use it, you create a critical mass of people more quickly to bring companies from El Paso and Juarez and let them learn from each other.”
Furthermore, Microsoft is concerned about the people in this region as they deserve to live a better life. He doesn’t believe Donald Trump’s Tweets about Mexico and its people will have any negative impact on the Bridge Accelerator Program. Smith further added “I think this is something we can sustain regardless of the political climate.
Sometimes some things are easier at times than others, but in a region that’s got 350 years of history, we don’t look at this like a month or a year in terms of the political climate. We’re thinking about it for the long term.”