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Microsoft partners have shown us time and again what amazing philanthropy efforts they are engaging in to help bring about positive change around the globe and in their own communities. In continuation of our philanthropy spotlight series, we’re featuring the great work of Beatriz Oliveira and her company BindTuning in bringing new technology and learning opportunities to women and children in Portugal.

The Cause

Beatriz and the team behind Microsoft Silver Partner, BindTuning, have been showing their commitment to their community through a variety of different programs. Beatriz says that they have focused their philanthropy efforts mainly on providing women and kids with the access to technology education that might otherwise not be available to them.

These issues are prevalent around the world. In Portugal, only 30% of researchers in the engineering and technology fields are women. This is troubling, as a lack of diversity has a direct correlation to how quickly businesses can keep up with the worlds’ rapid pace of change. Furthermore, while many children around the world have access to technology, very few of them have the opportunity to learn how their devices are programed, or how they themselves could contribute to the innovations that will change the world.

“When I started BindTuning, I felt like I had to do something to give back. Like most people, I don’t have a lot of free time. We work from sun-up until well passed sun-down and there’s very little time in our lives to give back. The only way that I could really help others was to share my knowledge.”

– Beatriz Oliveira, CEO and Founder, BindTuning

Beatriz said that the motivation behind the philanthropy efforts of BindTuning are tied to these issues of access and education. She explained, “We try to support a lot of different initiatives and a lot of different types of people. From kids to women to entrepreneurs, we’re doing a little bit to help each of these groups.”

She continued, “Because I don’t have a lot of time to give back outside of work, I tried to incorporate that into what we do. At BindTuning, we began offering pro bono products and services to charities and nonprofits. And we have done at least one website pro bono every year for the last 5 years.” They have helped organizations like The Grand Canyon Association, American Friends Service Committee, Carers Trust UK, Imagine Colorado, World Wildlife Fund and many other non-profits.

She said that she was in part motivated by her two teenage daughters. She sees the need to provide girls with the kind of access to technology that they can build a career on and knows they deserve the same opportunities as boys . “In Portugal, it’s definitely something that is not available to all kids. They have access to technology, laptops and mobile phones, but not so much access to the learning environment that will help them learn to code. That access is what drives us.”

The Projects

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BindTuning invests time and resources into a variety of different philanthropy projects targeted toward providing women, children, and entrepreneurs with the resources they need to be successful in the technology industry.

CoderDojo Vila do Conde

  • BindTuning’s main initiative
  • Aimed at children ages 7 to 17
  • Provides a variety of tech sessions and experiences including coding Python for Minecraft and creating pixel art
  • For more info check out CoderDojo of Vila do Conde

Tech Meetups & Coffee Vila do Conde

  • BindTuning organizes and hosts regular tech meetups
  • Events are held at the BindTuning office and focus on the latest trends and innovations in technology
  • Events are presented in 45-minute teaching sessions, followed by a group discussion
  • Past topics include Web Design Trends, Next Web, Augmented Reality, 3D Printing, and HTML5 Apps for Mobile

Girls Lean In Vila do Conde

  • BindTuning also supports the Girls Lean In initiative
  • Program is held at their offices roughly every two months
  • Event is inspired by the Lean In movement based off the book by Sheryl Sandberg
  • The goal of the events is empowering women in their personal and professional growth

“The events are designed to inspire women to believe in themselves and see that they can reach greater goals and not be intimidated by being in a man’s world.”

– Beatriz Oliveira, CEO and Founder, BindTuning

Geek Girls Portugal

  • BindTuning also supports the Geek Girls Portugal organization
  • They have hosted an event at their office to date, with Beatriz speaking at various other events as well
  • Targeted at women passionate about technology, including programmers, researchers, entrepreneurs, digital designers, and so on
  • Provides a relaxed environment and social setting to give women the chance to meet like-minded individuals and learn about interesting technical or business topics

Startup Pirates Vila do Conde

  • BindTuning supports startups and entrepreneurs through their work with Startup Pirates
  • Initiative provides an intensive training seminar for entrepreneurs
  • Offers training and education in sales, marketing, and technology
  • Attendees work toward a concept in the acceleration program.

“We really wanted people to have the access to the resources they need to build their own businesses, access to people with experience doing the same thing, and ongoing community support.”

– Beatriz Oliveira, CEO and Founder, BindTuning

How Partners Can Get Involved

To jump start your own philanthropy efforts, Beatriz recommends starting with the amazing resources Microsoft provides. She said, “Microsoft offers great opportunities for partners to get started in their own philanthropy efforts. Here in Portugal, Microsoft has been so supportive in connecting us with the right people, and getting us in touch with people to help organize the various events we put on.”

“I would recommend partners get in touch with their national equivalent to learn what resources are available to them. In smaller cities, it can be more difficult for people to attend events like these, but it’s always interesting to see what can be done on a more local level. Don’t refrain from starting a group just because there is an existing group. You can always innovate and bring something new to your target group.”

– Beatriz Oliveira, CEO and Founder, BindTuning

What causes are you most inspired to support and how? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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