HP has announced it wants to expand the number of its education vertical resellers involved in its ‘Ripple Effect' grant scheme.
The scheme - which was launched earlier in the summer - gives resellers £20,000 to grant to schools who buy HP tech though them.
So far, the four partners on board are Misco, Softcat, XMA and Academia.
In a publicity blitz today, each reseller announced a winning school of their own separate competitions among school customers who had recently purchased HP hardware through them.
The four winners will receive a HP Learning Studio from their respective reseller. The £20,000 suite of HP tech includes a HP Sprout G2 - an immersive computing 3D PC - and a Dremel Idea Builder 3D40 - an education-focused 3D Printer.
HP's UKI &I channel and education director Neil Sawyer told CRN that he's expanding this grant scheme to target all HP core education resellers in the UK&I, which number "about a dozen", and that the investment will be a three to five-year project.
"We feel this is really successful and we will continue to roll this out to more resellers, especially over the next 12 months," he said. "In fact, we'll be making a very big splash of this whilst we're at the BETT show (in Jan 2018]."
As well as trying to get all existing partners on the bandwagon, Sawyer said that HP is targeting new education-focussed resellers with the message that they have an opportunity with HP to address a chronic challenge facing the vertical: the endemic STEM worker shortfall, currently estimated at 40,000 in the UK.
"We're very keen to build this," he said. "Almost every week, we've been inviting a lot of new resellers to our offices in London and Bracknell that we have never traded with before. The key things is that we want to inspire them to not just resell HP laptops and printers, but also educating about the other technology we offer where they can make a difference as a reseller when bidding for new customer business.
"Examples of that include virtual reality - we've got 3D tech now, immersive commuting, we've got a big infrastructure with Google around chrome that's being developed. The more we can educate our channel about this, the better the points of differentiation they'll have in the education segment."
However, Sawyer cautioned resellers that they must not just talk the talk on tackling the STEM skills shortage in the UK.
"One thing that everyone has been missing is that a lot of people have been speaking about this and not much has been done. UK&I reseller partners need to take some action.
"What is amazing is that when you approach schools and say ‘We can do a little bit more than just reselling products', then the enthusiasm you get is enormous, because clearly STEM is a massive part of their problem. Most schools only have about £115 pounds per student per year to spend on technology, and that's really not a lot," Sawyer said.
"Some of our resellers have been screaming out for action and that is why we're investing."
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