Left to Right: Ricardo Mora, CEO of Technology-Hub; Chihuahua Governor Javier Corral; Microsoft President, Brad Smith; Governor of the State of Texas, Greg Abbott; and Secretary of Innovation and Economic Development for the State of Chihuahua, Alejandra De La Vega (PRNewsfoto/Microsoft)

Microsoft President Brad Smith joined community and government leaders to announce the expansion of Microsoft TechSpark El Paso, Texas to include Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.

Smith also announced a $1.5 million Microsoft investment in The Bridge Accelerator, its new signature project in partnership with Technology-Hub (T-Hub) to drive innovation, digital skills, and economic opportunity in the El Paso-Juárez region.

Microsoft TechSpark was launched in 2017 to help spark job creation and economic opportunity in six communities in the U.S., including the diverse border city of El Paso, TX. TechSpark is focused on promoting digital skills and employability, increasing access to broadband, and helping local organizations thrive by embracing new technologies.

El Paso is a vibrant bilingual, bicultural city that is part of a singular binational community that encompasses the larger city of Juarez on the Mexican side of the border. The cities’ proximity makes international border crossing of people, goods and ideas a fundamental part of life for residents on both sides.

The two cities have shared a common history, economy, natural resources (water), and cultural values for more than 400 years, which has resulted in a strong, interdependent relationship.

El Paso and Ciudad Juarez converge in a cross-border flow of ideas, ambition, and aspirations that have shaped the region for centuries. This forward-looking spirit is what attracted us to the region in 2017 when we launched Microsoft TechSpark in El Paso to create new economic opportunities and help digitally transform established industries with modern software and cloud services.

Microsoft is announcing that it is expanding the TechSpark El Paso program to include Ciudad Juarez and making a $1.5 million USD investment in the binational Bridge Accelerator.

As part of the expansion, Microsoft hired Omar Saucedo, who is based in Ciudad Juarez, to manage TechSpark Ciudad Juarez. He will work with local community partners, government leaders and non-profits to determine the best approach to create local impact. Omar is already working closely with TechSpark El Paso manager, JJ Childress.

Through partnerships with local businesses, non-profits and governments, the El Paso-Juárez region can become a leader in advanced manufacturing, advanced logistics, business services and ensure the people here have access to skills to be future-ready.

Smith also announced its signature project in the region: The Bridge Accelerator in partnership with T-Hub, a binational business incubator built to stimulate regional innovation, entrepreneurship and industry. The Bridge Accelerator is an intensive program designed to accelerate the growth of business on both sides of the border.

Earlier this year, Microsoft partnered with T-Hub on The Bridge Accelerator pilot program to send a cohort of 10 businesses – five from El Paso and five from Juárez. The results were impressive. Since the pilot ended in July, businesses that went through The Bridge Accelerator saw:

  • 52 new purchase orders totaling nearly $1.4 million USD close and another 36 purchase orders are pending
  • 33 new jobs were created in the region
  • Two investments totaling $250,000 have been committed and four more investments are pending

The results of The Bridge Accelerator were so impressive that Microsoft has announced that it will be investing in T-Hub to make it a long-term program.

Microsoft is committed to creating opportunity for everyone, including the underserved Hispanic population. Microsoft believes the TechSpark model of a deep, long-term community partnership can help communities address their unique needs, create a future-ready workforce, and be a catalyst for economic investment across the country, and borders.