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May 22 2014

Operation HOPE Partners with DataWind to Empower Youth with a Pathway to Entrepreneurship, Career Readiness and Digital Access

Denver, CO – May 22, 2014 – Financial dignity global nonprofit Operation HOPE (HOPE) and DataWind, a leading provider of Internet-enabled tablets, smartphones, and Internet services, are partnering to empower youth in underserved communities through HOPE’s Business In A Box Academies (HBIAB) program.

Through the partnership, DataWind has provided over 65, 7-inch full-featured UbiSlate tablet computers to winners of the HOPE Business In A Box pitch competition, during the 2013 – 2014 programming in Denver.  DataWind will provide additional units to the project at a reduced special price.

Mary H. Ehrsam, President of HOPE Global Youth Empowerment Group, said, “The ultimate goal of HOPE Business In A Box Academies, is to empower youth with skills needed to take control of their future.  DataWind’s outstanding contribution enables students to build a digital skill set and understand how the efficient use of technology can help them launch and run a small business”.

HBIAB powered by the Gallup-HOPE Index, is a national initiative carried out by HOPE to harness the economic energy of youth and bring positive business role models into underserved communities. The goal of the initiative is to reconnect the power of education to the power of aspiration, spurring local job creation, spiking local GDP growth, and therein insuring the future prosperity of our students and our nation.  HBIABA provides students in 4th-12th grades an opportunity to choose from more than 25 businesses that can be started for $500 or less, pitch their startup in front of a live audience and top leaders from their community, receive a HOPE Business In A Box Academy Entrepreneurship Grant, a business mentor and a savings account. HOPE Business In A Box Academies is part of Operation HOPE’s Project 5117, a new initiative, which aims to strengthen the economy by empowering underserved communities and eradicating poverty by the year 2020.

Through a partnership with DataWind, makers of the UbiSlate tablet and the PocketSurfer smartphone, winners can receive their own tablet to use for developing their own business plan and budget. Once students complete the Business Role Model program, they will present their updated plan to Operation HOPE judges for an opportunity to earn up to $500 in start-up funds to launch their business. Once the businesses are started and growing, students will have an opportunity to access resources through crowd funding and crowdsourcing to keep their business growing and expand their learning opportunity. The program will help students learn career skills, boost confidence and gain real world experience.

Suneet Singh Tuli, CEO of DataWind, said, “Our low cost android tablets are designed to solve the affordability challenges of low income group and the underserved.  We firmly believe that adoption of these affordable computing devices backed with internet connectivity will empower these communities to pursue their educational and entrepreneurial aspirations.”

“We are happy to partner Operation HOPE and committed to work along with them to create more such opportunities through their HOPE Business In A Box Academy initiative”, added Tuli.

The tablets are already helping winners improve their businesses, like Valeisha McKoy, who is starting a Jamaican food cart business. She has been utilizing the tablet to develop her business plan. Dante Hicks, who is starting a music production company, has been using the tablet's internet connection to explore his competition, listen to their music, and devise his business plan.

For more information regarding HOPE Business In A Box Academies and Project 5117, click here.

About DataWind

DataWind is a leading provider of low-cost Internet connectivity devices and services.  The Company offers UbiSlate tablet devices and PocketSurfer smartphone devices.  Additionally, using its patented data compression technologies, DataWind offers unlimited Internet connectivity over mobile-cellular networks and provides what it believes is the world’s lowest cost Internet connectivity solution.  The Company’s vision is to bring the tremendous social and economic benefits of the Internet to the next 4 billion unconnected people in the developing world.  DataWind is based in Toronto, Canada, with operations in Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, China, and India.

About Operation HOPE, Inc.

Since its inception in 1992, HOPE, a global nonprofit focused on financial dignity, has empowered more than 2 million individuals and directed more than $1.5 billion in private capital to America's low-wealth communities. It has recruited a growing army of 20,000 HOPE Corps volunteers, and helped raise average credit scores for financial case management clients more than 120 points over an average 18-month period. It currently serves more than 300 U.S. cities, as well as South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and most recently, the United Arab Emirates. HOPE's next phase will be focused on Project 5117, a multi-year initiative that will track and increase business role models for youth, boost credit scores for adults, and empower underserved communities, as a part of its “silver rights” mission to make free enterprise work for everyone. For more information visit www.operationhope.org or follow us on Twitter at Operation HOPE.