Microsoft Corp. has announced it is giving a software grant worth $2.5 million to an American non-profit group, Ashoka.

Arlington, Va.-based Ashoka plans to use the grant to distribute “entrepreneur’s tool kits” to 30 different offices.

Asoka has a network of more than 2,000 Ashoka Fellows working in economic development, environment, health and education.

In Canada, Ashoka operates Youth Venture, which helps teams of young people start businesses, organizations and informal programs. The programs are designed to address issues of poverty, health, the elderly, the environment, education, diversity and the arts.

Ashoka is named after an Indian emperor who reigned during the third century B.C.

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