WALLDORF — SAP AG today announced that it is now more than doubling the number of employees it sends to help entrepreneurs and small to midsize companies solve business challenges in emerging markets. The social sabbatical initiative by SAP is part of the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy to foster education and entrepreneurship among disadvantaged communities. In this next phase of the program, SAP is investing US $2.45 million to strengthen the leadership skills of 72 qualified employees and create sustainable impact in the selected countries.
A relatively new area for international corporate volunteering, the social sabbatical initiative by SAP was launched in 2012 with 30 employees in three countries: Brazil, India and South Africa. This year, SAP’s inaugural program in China will work with non-profits that support local entrepreneurs in Shanghai. It is part of SAP’s efforts to significantly expand its presence in China by investing over US$2 billion through 2015.
According to research by PYXERA Global, a non-profit economic development organization and SAP partner in developing the social sabbatical, four times as many companies are sending employees to volunteer their skills in emerging and frontier markets today, compared to just five years ago. These numbers continue to rise as companies increase the number of employees sent abroad.
“SAP is a place where the next generation of leaders can apply their talents to improve people’s lives and make an impact on the world around them,” said Torie Clarke, senior vice president, Global Corporate Affairs, SAP AG. “The social sabbatical allows us to provide our people with innovative development opportunities while strengthening entrepreneurship in emerging economies.”
To ensure that participants make the most of their experiences, SAP offers participants unique mentoring opportunities. In addition to preparatory training for the sabbatical, participants receive in-depth coaching sessions after they have completed the program to help them reflect on their experience and apply key learnings to their work environment at SAP.
SAP chooses assignments that can be continued by regional teams even after the program is over to enhance the impact of the social sabbatical. The company has established new methodologies to measure the impact of the sabbaticals on participants, recipient organizations and their communities. In response to growing interest from SAP employees, SAP plans to offer additional assignments in spring 2014.
Robin Meyerhoff, +1 (650) 440-2572, firstname.lastname@example.org, PDT