UNIDO-Hewlett-Packard (HP) Global Partnership Programme

Entrepreneurship & IT Training for Youth in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East

“Young people can play a greater role in micro-enterprise development, which is one of the best ways to create jobs. Training offers a taste of professional life, making the transition from education to business much easier.”

Gabriele Zedlmayer, Vice President of Corporate Marketing, HP Europe, Middle East and Africa.


In most developing countries, micro- and small scale enterprises account for a significant share of the private sector and are important drivers for job creation. However, they often operate below their potential since business owners lack the relevant entrepreneurship, management and IT skills to develop and become more efficient. Entrepreneurship training is thus increasingly being recognized as an important element in tackling unemployment and triggering economic growth. Moreover, it strengthens the social inclusion of marginalized people (the very poor, youth, women, minorities) as it enables them to engage actively in productive economic activities.


Since May 2008, UNIDO has been partnering with Hewlett Packard (HP), one of the world’s largest technology companies, to implement a global programme for entrepreneurship and IT education. Together, UNIDO and HP equip aspiring and existing entrepreneurs in developing countries with hands-on business and IT skills to start, run and grow their enterprises. Building on the successful deployment of the “Graduate Entrepreneurship Training through IT” (GET-IT) programme in Africa and the Middle East, in 2010 the UNIDO-HP partnership reached a global coverage including Asia and Latin America.  Today at the core of the partnership lies the global Learning Initiative for Entrepreneurs (LIFE) training programme which is available in several languages and covers selected topics in the areas of marketing, operations, communication and finance for different stages of entrepreneurship, from imagining to innovating.

The LIFE trainings are provided by carefully selected partner organizations who receive a HP technology package, access to the LIFE curriculum and to various online tools and a cash grant. Selection of partner organizations is based on a scoring system, which, inter alia, includes gender equality factor. Also, designated LIFE trainers are enabled to take part in a training-of-trainers course to become certified and thus to pass on their knowledge to the students. The UNIDO-HP partnership programme is implemented in collaboration with MEA-I (Micro-Enterprise Acceleration Institute) and EDC (Education Development Center).

In June 2012, HP introduced HP LIFE e-Learning – a free, online training programme that builds on the existing programme. The courses are interactive, helping many more entrepreneurs and small business owners learn IT and business skills in their own time, at their own pace.

Current results

Establishment of 122 LIFE centers in 15 countries (Algeria, Brazil, China, Colombia, Egypt, India, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkey, Uganda and United Arab Emirates)

  • Certification of over 310 LIFE trainers
  • Training of approximately 50,000 students face-to-face
  • Creation of over 20,000 jobs


Following the completion of the LIFE training many of the beneficiaries –of which a large percentage are women and youth – have established a business and thus started to generate their own income, contributing to job creation and economic growth in their countries.

The global LIFE center network will be further expanded in 2012. Linkages with other UNIDO entrepreneurship initiatives, such as the Entrepreneurship Curriculum Programme (ECP) and the Enterprise Development and Investment Promotion Programme (EDIP) will be created to maximize the benefits for entrepreneurs. Furthermore, UNIDO will develop an environmental training module for the LIFE curriculum with the expertise of its Environmental Management Branch. For more information on this project click here.

Entrepreneur Success Stories

Lucy Wahome dreamed of using her sewing and knitting talents to build a business in her community. But she needed help getting started. Through HP LIFE training she learned how—and where—to set up her business for the best chance of success, choosing a site in a busy Nakuru shopping center. In addition, Lucy sells her products wholesale, using her new skills to establish and manage her distribution channel. Lucy also learned bookkeeping skills and new ways to market her shop to attract customers.

In a community where few people have cars, Kevin Odwar saw an opportunity to use his motorbike to get people where they need to go. But he wasn’t sure how to get customers to find his taxi service, or how to manage his income once they did. Through HP LIFE training, Kevin learned valuable skills that help him track his profits and losses. And, he learned how to build a successful Facebook page so customers can now easily find him.

Learn more about how the UNIDO-HP partnership programme helped Washington Mvelase, an entrepreneur from South Africa, to manage the operations and finance of his internet cafe business: