Microsoft helps to clean up Naples through YouthSpark initiative

Sean Cameron


Mass youth unemployment is one of the unfortunate realities of the world in which we live. This is especially the case for those resident in either Spain or Italy, where around half of all young people are unemployed, placing an enormous strain both on their country’s infrastructure and their personal well-being.

Though this situation isn’t the fault of those it affects; it is still their responsibility to find their way out of it. Even if others find it difficult to find work, there are a few who manage to life their heads above the rest. Lorenzo Dente is one of those who have achieved this, with the help of Microsoft YouthSpark.

Twenty years old and based in the notoriously tough neighborhood of Scampia, on the fringes of Naples, all of the odds were stacked against Dente. Especially when considering that youth unemployment in the region has hit 42%, simply ‘becoming another number’ figured high on his list of possible life outcomes.


Faced with this, Dente instead joined a local program, which teaches tech and entrepreneurial skills to those from low-income backgrounds, based on the idea that they come up with easy solutions to everyday problems and build a business around the concept. Well aware of the situation from which he had come, Dente resolved to tackle reduce crime, and littering.

As a member of a team, he created a program called “Clean Up and Innovate”, tasking people from around the neighborhood to pick up their trash and then recycle it into works of art to be sold, creating lamps and boxes (among other items) in addition to this.

Funding for this program came from Microsoft YouthSpark, an initiative which seeks to improve the situation for young people across the world by helping to create educational opportunities. With their help, Dente is now helping to improve life for those across his city, and in time he may accomplish a great deal more.

Have you worked with Microsoft YouthSpark? Let us know in the comments below.