Technology

National Entrepreneurship Week helps small businesses reach their big dreams

Every small business starts with a big dream. To help any company’s accomplishments mirror its ambition, Microsoft is sponsoring National Entrepreneurship Week. Five days of online and in-person events running Feb. 20‒24 are designed for entrepreneurs and business owners, including a Women in Entrepreneurship event in New York City.

Empowering business creators to thrive matters because small businesses play a crucial role in America’s economic success. They account for 55 percent of U.S. jobs, according to the Small Business Administration. And America’s 28 million small-business owners and entrepreneurs are at the forefront of innovation, fueling growth and creating jobs.

National Entrepreneurship Week will feature free workshops, content, webcasts, events and more, offered by event supporters including Dun & Bradstreet, LinkedIn, Wix and Yelp.

The Women in Entrepreneurship Panel will highlight the triumphs and tribulations faced by women from all walks of life who run small businesses. Ramon Ray of Smart Hustle Magazine will moderate as women entrepreneurs detail tips on how to get a business off the ground and growing. It takes place Thursday, Feb. 23, 6‒8 p.m. ET, at the Microsoft Store (677 5th Ave., New York, NY 10022). The event is free but seating is limited, so RSVP now.

Also live in New York (and live on Facebook), Microsoft’s Cindy Bates — who leads the Small and Midsized Business and Distribution group — will discuss how modern technology can transform your small business. She will advise on best practices for launching a brand and outline the latest affordable tech tools for connecting with customers. RSVP now for Bates’ presentation on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 6‒8 p.m. ET at the Wix Lounge (235 West 23rd St.).

Here are additional in-person and online events and content to experience throughout the week. Visit the Microsoft Small and Midsize Business Blog for details:

To boot, many National Entrepreneurship Week supporters are offering specials and discounts to boost your business productivity. For example, Microsoft is offering 10 percent off select Surface and Windows 10 Pro devices. To find out more, visit your local Microsoft Store from Feb. 20‒26.

Check Entrepreneurship Week for regular updates, resources, new content and special offers throughout the week. And join in the conversation on Twitter by following #WININBIZ.

We look forward to engaging further and learning more about how these activities help small-business owners accelerate their success.

Announcing A New Way to Watch Presidential Debates

WatchTheDebates.org

Election season is in full swing!

With our two 2016 major-party candidates gearing up for debates, we’re excited to announce the newest venture between PBS NewsHour and Microsoft: WatchTheDebates.org, expanding on an existing civic education partnership between PBS and the Commission on Presidential Debates. This interactive civic education and voter engagement site provides access to every general election debate since 1960, allowing visitors ability to screen entire debates and highlights, track how specific issues over the years, and interact with the content using online voting tools from Microsoft Pulse.

Since the first televised presidential debate in 1960, these events have been integral to the American democratic process and the leading forum for serious discussion of current affairs. Today, for the first time, these debates are being organized and made available in one place for the American public in an online forum.

On WatchTheDebates.org, users can access various content and engagement tools, including:

  • Livestreams of the four 2016 general election debates
  • Full debate footage from 39 previously broadcast debates
  • Online rating and audience engagement of previous & this year’s debates, powered by Microsoft Pulse
  • Highlight reels of memorable moments from all televised debates between 1960-2016
  • Issue-based reels looking at the evolution of key policy and political issues through the years

Experience WatchTheDebates yourself — head to watchthedebates.org.

Microsoft Empowers the 2016 Republican & Democratic National Conventions

Microsoft Surface screen at RNC 2016

Regardless of your political stripes, Microsoft’s mission is to empower everyone to achieve more. This year, Microsoft is playing a significant role in the election process. We believe technology, and our teams, can create a more secure, accurate, and efficient elections process. After starting in Iowa, we continued onto Super Tuesday, and this past July, we were vital to the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.

Republican Convention 2016 stage

Microsoft Surface screen After all the balloons dropped, and Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump had been officially nominated at their respective parties’ conventions, the entire Microsoft community can proudly say they helped make these significant events in our democratic process a success. Teams across the company, from Washington state to Washington, DC, coordinated over the past year to engage with the political parties, the planning committees, the host cities, and local organizations and businesses to provide access to Microsoft technology and services. From the earliest planning stages, we worked with the RNC Committee on Arrangements and the Democratic National Convention Committee to empower those people and organizations running the conventions to address challenges and provide solutions.

From Azure to Skype to O365 to Surface, Microsoft became integral to two weeks of conventions in Cleveland and Philadelphia, viewed by millions of people around the world.

Just as important, we aimed to leave a lasting legacy in each host city. In Cleveland, we partnered with Cuyahoga County on an Azure-based, mobile app to help solve some of the areas on-going challenges. In Philadelphia, we partnered with local organizations to launch the Microsoft Reactor, where entrepreneurs and developers can have a home to innovate into the future.

We will continue supporting the next steps in the 2016 election (bookmark WatchTheDebates.org and check out bing.com/elections throughout the election cycle), and are committed to being a vital part of the democratic process for years to come.

The Elections newsroom on Microsoft News Center provides an ongoing reflection of the company’s work as the election cycle continues.

The Nitty Gritty: keys to transformation personally and as a leader

Molly finishing

This weekend I participated in the Microsoft Challenge at the New York City Triathlon. This was an event sponsored by Microsoft for executives from across commercial business to train and compete in the triathlon while also networking and learning about Digital Transformation. It was a great experience and allowed me to reflect on the tools that leaders need to draw on to achieve personal and professional goals.

As I completed the triathlon yesterday and pushed to the finish these words came to mind:

“Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” Angela Lee Duckworth

It stands out to me that GRIT can serve as a foundation for leaders to personally transform by maintaining passion and perseverance for their goals around optimal health and fitness. We can also apply that same discipline to stick to a long-term goal despite setbacks as we lead our businesses to digitally transform.

STUDIES SHOW…

When psychologist Angela Duckworth studied people in various challenging situations, including National Spelling Bee participants, rookie teachers in tough neighborhoods, and West Point cadets, she found: One characteristic emerged as a significant predictor of success. And it wasn’t social intelligence. It wasn’t good looks, physical health, and it wasn’t IQ.  It was grit.  

After relying on my grit to prepare for the triathlon, I noticed that it’s the same source I pull from when leading teams to transform and advising other business leaders for how they can pursue change over the long term. Grit is essential, not only in academics or athletics but in business.

Grit can be taught through some of the following exercises:

Develop a Growth Mindset

Carol Dweck from Stanford University teaches us that people who have a growth mindset are more successful than those who think that intelligence is fixed.

Grit Takes Time

Commit to have grit today, but give it time to grow. Practice Grit in both personal and professional circumstances and keep a journal of how you have relied on Grit over time and then look back on how you have grown your ability to apply grit and stay gritty.

The ever changing technology landscape and business that moves at a breakneck pace requires grit now more than ever – in both our personal and professional lives. As you think about digital transformation for your business consider how Grit will play a role of getting your organization to the goals you have.

Molly WINNING MC Challenge Female category

Molly McCarthy wins the Microsoft Challenge Female Category at the NYC Triathlon

It isn’t Grit alone that will propel you to your goal, but teamwork is also essential. Building a team, you can rely on with a foundation of trust, encouragement and mutual respect also leads to great outcomes. In preparing for the triathlon, I came to recognize how much I rely on my support team both personally and professionally for the encouragement and “push” I sometimes needed to get me to my goal.

As you work toward your goals I recommend you prioritize Grit and Teamwork to fuel your personal best.  To learn more about Digital Transformation and other ways you can prepare as a leader check out our ebook to take digital to the core of your business: https://info.microsoft.com/Enterprise_EN-US_ITDM_DTebook_RegistrationPage.html

#MicrosoftChallenge

Sources: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/true-grit-measure-teach-success-vicki-davis

Microsoft announces teacher-inspired updates for Windows, Office, ‘Minecraft’

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At Microsoft, we’re all in on education!

Our company mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. In education, it’s to empower every student. Today, we’re proud to share the latest on what’s coming to New York for Back-to-School 2016/2017.

Introducing Microsoft Classroom and Microsoft Forms, OneNote Class Notebook now with Learning Management System (LMS) integration, new experiences for Windows 10 and the dawn of “Minecraft: Education Edition” – Get ready!

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First, we are announcing all new education features coming in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, features specifically inspired by teachers and focused on students.   

Faster, easier set-up:

Shared devices in the classroom are the norm – in the U.S., nearly 90 percent of schools report using shared devices. We also know that nearly 50 percent of teachers serve as their own tech support in their classroom. Until now, setting these devices up has been complex and getting students productive often takes too long.  

With the Windows 10 Anniversary Update we are introducing a ”Set Up School PCs” app that allows teachers to set up a device themselves in a simple three-step process in minutes. We’ve also made significant performance improvements for affordable devices. We expect the average first login to take 26 seconds, with subsequent logins of 6 seconds when the student uses that machine again.   

Secure assessments:

Testing is going digital — teachers consistently tell us they want a simple way to set up quizzes or standardized tests digitally. The Windows 10 Anniversary Update brings a new ‘Take a Test’ app – simple and more secure standardized testing for the whole classroom or the whole school, where teachers or IT can lock down the testing environment, or enable simple quizzing.

Education-ready Windows Store:

Nearly 60 percent of teachers purchase and load apps themselves. With the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, the Windows Store will enable teachers to access thousands of apps, and schools can purchase and deploy them in bulk.

Free upgrade and affordable devices:

More and more, educators are asking us about affordable devices. We have a great portfolio of affordable, durable and innovative Windows 10 devices starting at $199, designed for the demands of education.  

So you can see, the Windows 10 Anniversary Update brings a huge range of education-specific features that teachers and students are going to love. Learn even more about these new updates, and more, over on the Windows blog!

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Second, we are announcing some big improvements to Office 365 Education. 

Today we are announcing Microsoft Classroom a new experience in Office 365 Education. Microsoft Classroom is designed to be the one place students and teachers come to manage their day from Class Notebooks, assignments and grades to conversations, calendars and to announcements!

We’re piloting this with Omaha Public Schools in Nebraska. Let me just share with you what they had to say . . .

“It simplifies our digital classroom management and frees up our teachers so they can spend more time with students and less time managing administrative access to class materials.” Rob Dickson, Executive Director, Information Management Services of Omaha Public Schools.

A key piece of Microsoft Classroom is OneNote, a tool currently used in classrooms around the world to provide students with an immersive and inclusive learning experience. Visit here to learn how OneNote is transforming a special education classroom at Holly Springs Elementary School in Georgia.

Today we are also announcing Microsoft School Data Sync (SDS) – a powerful complement for Microsoft Classroom. SDS connects Microsoft Classroom to a School Information System (SIS), so teacher, student and classes information is automatically populated in Microsoft Classroom and OneNote Class Notebooks. School Data Sync will be included in Office 365 Education.  Think of it as a super simple process that quickly provisions a set of classes and rosters from many School Information Systems already used.

Also being announced: Microsoft Forms – a simple way to quickly assess student progress and get feedback with easy-to-create surveys and quizzes. It’s in public preview starting today for Office 365 Education here.

OneNote Class Notebooks are the heart of our education experience and they just keep getting better and better. We have seen incredible momentum – with millions of student notebooks created just this school year – and currently running over 10,000 a day!

To hear one educator describe it: “It’s your whole classroom (lesson plans, materials, assignments and student work) in a digital binder with tools for communication and collaboration!” 

We’re also announcing Class Notebook assignment and grading integration is now available with more than 25 Learning Management System partners – including leaders like Canvas, Edmodo, Schoology, Brightspace and Moodle. Learn more here.

We’re really excited about all of these improvements for Office 365 Education coming for the new school year! Learn more about all of the updates to Office happening for education – check out the Office blog here.

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Finally, we’ve got some great news about “Minecraft: Education Edition! June begins an early access program of “Minecraft: Education Edition.” It will be available for any educator to download and try for free on Windows 10 and OS X El Capitan.    

This program is a great way for educators and administrators who are interested in “Minecraft: Education Edition” to give it a test run in the summer months and give us more feedback and suggestions.  

If you are new to “Minecraft” in the classroom, check out education.minecraft.net for resources to help prepare, including lesson plans and a new “Minecraft” mentors program to connect with amazing teachers already using “Minecraft.”

What’s the next step? Upgrade your devices to Windows 10 or OS X El Capitan, and sign up for an Office 365 Education account.

To learn more about “Minecraft: Education Edition” and the upcoming early access program, check out our blog.

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The culture at Microsoft is customer-obsessed and we’ve been hard at work listening to teachers and students. We hope you love what’s coming this summer and we look forward to your continued feedback and hearing about the amazing things happening in your classroom. Let me know what you think on Twitter – @microsoft_edu @tony_prophet #MSFTEDU.

New York-based Undercare, Inc. set to compete for grand prize in nationwide InnovateHER Challenge

InnovateHER_Logo_banner

There are approximately two million small businesses in New York, and collectively they make a significant impact on the state’s economy. On March 17, one standout New York entrepreneur will compete in a nationwide competition that could net her cash and prizes that will take her business to the next level.

Susan Leary Shoemaker from Undercare, Inc. is one of 10 finalists competing in the 2016 InnovateHER: Innovating for Women Business Challenge, put on in partnership between the U.S. Small Business Administration and Microsoft. At the event, being held in Washington, D.C., Susan will pitch Undercare, which offers innovative undergarments that accommodate persons who have difficulty dressing. A panel of expert judges will select three winners from the field, with $70,000 in prizes at stake.

Now, in its second year, the InnovateHER competition seeks to uncover products or services that will fill a need in the marketplace and have the greatest potential for commercialization. Last year, the SBA and Microsoft engaged over 100 organizations and reached over 1,000 entrepreneurs across the nation through InnovateHER.

For more information on the competition and to keep up with developments, including the winner announcement, visit www.sba.gov/innovateher. Good luck to all of the entrepreneurs pitching their innovations!

Department of Defense to move 4 million devices to Windows 10

Government agencies, like large enterprises everywhere, are constantly facing new and emerging challenges, which can range from a constantly shifting threat landscape to managing multiple platforms and devices across their IT environments. And the modern threat landscape has never been more challenging — driving tremendous costs and risk to the security of critical information. Federal, state and local governments around the world, including several agencies in New York, are betting big on Microsoft technologies to help them protect against these cyber threats.

Today, Microsoft announced the latest federal agency to take advantage of a Microsoft solution: the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). The Secretary of Defense has directed all U.S. DoD agencies to begin the rapid deployment of the Microsoft Windows 10 Secure Host Baseline (SHB) throughout their respective organizations for information systems currently utilizing Microsoft operating systems. From laptops to desktops to mobile devices, the DoD has a goal of deploying Windows 10 within a year.

In our region, this means that DoD agencies in the New York, such as the Hamilton Army Base in Brooklyn and the US Military Academy Army Base in West Point will likely be planning for adoption of the new Secure Host Base for their Windows environments.

“The Department of Defense is leading the way towards modernizing and strengthen its security infrastructure,” said Susie Adams, Chief Technology Officer for Microsoft Federal. “This is a great example of the strategic way in which all enterprises can adopt Windows 10 to optimize their response to cyber threats, while also reducing costs and streamlining the IT operating environment.”

For more on the DoD’s migration to Windows 10, check out the Windows for your Business blog.

Staff Spotlight: Stanislav Novoseletskiy, Data Architect

Copyright (Stanley Nov)Name: Stanislav Novoseletskiy

Hometown: Kiev

Job: Data Architect

Years at Microsoft: 9

Favorite Local Restaurant: Local is a relative term but my favorite drink is Bloody Mary

Last thing you searched on Bing: Financial Independence

Something cool you’ve worked on recently: Inspiring and enabling government employees to break through efficiency barriers

What inspires you about technology? Its ability to cloud our interpretation of reality, the opposite is also true

What is one problem you’d like to see technology solve? Making our civilization better. I believe that education and culture, or lack of thereof, is the key to improving our collective quality of life. Everything else should exist to support it. Technology, if used purposefully, is a great tool.

Power BI “publish to web” Visualizes Your Data and the Results are Stunning

Looking to monitor, explore, visualize and drive insights from your data?

All this just became that much easier with the new Microsoft Power BI “publish to web” tool. Users can now tell compelling stories with interactive data visualizations in minutes. You can easily embed interactive Power BI visualizations in your blog and website or share the stunning visuals through your emails or social media communications. You can reach millions of users on any device, any place, for an engaging experience. Learn more about this exciting tool here.

When The Civic Innovation Project needed a way to organize the data it collected from 34 countries for its most recent report on civic well-being, the organization turned to Power BI “publish to web.” The tool allowed the organization to render compelling data visualizations and compare trends in an intuitive manner easily digested by its end users. See how the Power BI “publish to web” tool helped The Civic Innovation Project compile its dynamic “A Global Landscape of Citizen Data” report here.

Microsoft New York’s Top Blogs of 2015

New York - 20152015 was a year of growth and change for all of us. As we welcomed new ventures into the New York tech scene, we were reminded every day why civic technology is so important. Thanks to our great partnerships, dedicated staff, and driven city, 2015 was one of our most successful years yet. We’d like to thank everyone who was there every step of the way!

Here are some of our favorite blogs of the year, highlighting special moments, special people, and the hard work that goes into civic tech every day:

February 12, 2015
City of New York Announces Microsoft NYC Tech Jobs Academy
March 4, 2015
Microsoft and Grand Central Tech bringing tech innovation to the Big Apple
President Obama Announces TechHire Initiative and Microsoft NYC Tech Jobs Academy March 9, 2015
President Obama Announces TechHire Initiative and Microsoft NYC Tech Jobs Academy
Women Forward — Civic Tech Changemaker Kristen Titus, Founding Director of NYC's Tech Talent Pipeline March 24, 2015
Women Forward — Civic Tech Changemaker Kristen Titus, Founding Director of NYC’s Tech Talent Pipeline
Microsoft and City Year: A Shared Belief in the Power of Young People April 16, 2015
Microsoft and City Year: A Shared Belief in the Power of Young People
 Civic Tech Fellows July 14, 2015
Celebrating a Year of Technology and Civic Innovation in New York
July 31, 2015
Blockchain for Social Good with Microsoft and the MIT Media Lab
 Donna Woodall, Citizenship & Public Affairs Director, Northeast August 12, 2015
Why Didn’t I Think Of This? The Girls Who Code Experience
 Two college students working together in the computer lab on a group assignment. October 7, 2015
Announcing the Tech Jobs Academy
CNN Debate with Bing Pulse September 9, 2015
Bing Pulse partners with CNN to let GOP Debate viewers provide real-time feedback