#sheinnovates Festival Makes Innovation Work for Women and Girls in Cape Town

On August 6, the SAP Next-Gen program and The Female Quotient will host a special event for creative innovators at Startupbootcamp AfriTech in Cape Town, South Africa.

The #sheinnovates Festival for Africa brings CEOs and influencers together to inspire young women and girls to claim their seats at the innovation table, powered by SAP Next-Gen in support of UN Women.

Guided by the principle of leaving no one behind, the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) call for transformative shifts, integrated approaches, and innovative solutions to overcome the structural barriers to sustainable development. This also applies to the barriers to gender equality and women’s empowerment. Innovative solutions are crucial to accelerating industry-wide change and removing the barriers to women and girls’ advancement in innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship. Individual efforts alone will not achieve the transformative and industry-wide change needed. We need to come together to address these barriers in an integrated manner.

In September 2017, UN Women together with SAP Next-Gen launched the Global Innovation Coalition for Change (GICC) with 25 leading private sector, academic, and not-for-profit institutions committed to making innovation work for women and girls to accelerate the achievement of gender equality and the 2030 agenda for the SDGs. The #sheinnovates program — founded by UN Women and led by Ann Rosenberg, senior vice president and global head of SAP Next-Gen — supports the mission of the GICC and builds up the community on behalf of the movement.

“By fostering a movement today to empower young women as purpose-driven leaders for the future, SAP Next-Gen is supporting SAP’s commitment to the UN SDGs, including Goal 5: Gender Equality,” said Rosenberg. “SAP Next-Gen invites companies, academia, purpose-driven partners, tech community leaders, institutions, students, and citizens to join us to advance gender equality and inspire young women as purpose-driven innovators.”

GICC is committed to three areas of action: to build market awareness of the potential for innovations developed by women that meet the needs of women and girls; to identify the key barriers to women and girl’s advancement in innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship; and to work collaboratively to identify and take actions to address these barriers and needs at an industry-wide level.

SAP’s Commitment to the Next Generation of Female Leaders

At SAP, a rich mix of gender perspectives helps drive innovation and enables the company to better serve customers. Having achieved its goal of 25 percent women in leadership in 2017, SAP is now committed to an increase of one percent each year to 30 percent women in leadership by the end of 2022, and has created numerous initiatives to reach that goal.

“SAP Africa supports the goals of #sheinnovates with UN Women to ensure women and girls across Africa are fully empowered to capitalize on the opportunities of the 21st century economy,” said Cathy Smith, managing director of SAP Africa. “Closing the STEM skills gap for the next wave of female tech leaders and entrepreneurs will be essential to bolstering economic growth and further unlocking technology’s capacity for social good. Our commitment to innovative practices that advance gender equality has given rise to several strong internal programs, such as the Business Women’s Network, an employee-driven network that provides opportunities for women to share their professional insight, support other women, and influence SAP on diversity issues. By supporting programs such as #sheinnovates, SAP endeavors to play a leading role in driving the diversity narrative beyond SAP to the broader ecosystem.”

To accelerate the impact of the #sheinnovates movement in Africa, SAP Next-Gen is partnering with Startupbootcamp AfriTech, a leading accelerator based in Cape Town, South Africa. It focuses on high-growth startups in blockchain, connected devices, payment solutions, capital markets and asset management, integrated supply chain, e-commerce, financial technology, retail technology, insurance technology, alternative financing, identity management, digital connectivity, data and behavioral analytics, and enabling technologies.

“As one of the most recognized and impactful accelerators on the African continent, Startupbootcamp AfriTech must lead the charge in supporting female entrepreneurs as they disrupt the status quo. We are passionate about joining the chorus of male voices supporting women in tech and we strive to embrace this approach in every element — including our team members, startups, and partners,” shares Philip Kiracofe, CEO of Startupbootcamp AfriTech. “Most recently, one of our 2017 alumni, Pascale Henke of Brownie Points, was nominated as a top 20 under 30 in tech. We are also excited that two female founders, Tomilola Adejana from Bankly and Tebogo Mokwena from Akiba Digital, have been selected for our 2018 program. Our commitment to place women at the forefront of innovation and social change extends to the events that we host. It’s fitting that we will celebrate the launch of our new world-class campus at The Foundry, Cape Town, with the #sheinnovates event, and our program manager Nsovo Nkatingi will kick off the event.”

At the #sheinnovates Festival Africa, SAP Next-Gen will host inspiring women and welcome them to join the #sheinnovates movement, which aims to empower purpose-driven women innovators.

#sheinnovates Festival Africa
Hosted by SAP Next-Gen & The Female Quotient
August 6, 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Startupbootcamp AfriTech
16 Ebenezer Road
The Foundry, Greenpoint 8001
Cape Town, South Africa
RSVP required

#sheinnovates is helping drive industry-wide action to make innovation and technology work better for young women and girls, and to foster the next generation of female leaders. Join the conversation with @SAPNextGen and @she_innovates using the hashtag #sheinnovates.

The SAP Next-Gen initiative, a purpose-driven innovation university and community aligned with SAP’s commitment to the 17 UN Global Goals for sustainable development, supports SAP’s more than 404,000 customers across 25 industries in more than 180 countries. The program leverages over 3,600 educational institutions in 113 countries, more than 100 SAP Next-Gen Lab spaces at universities and at partner and SAP locations, and more than 38 SAP Next-Gen Chapters, as well as startups, accelerators, tech community partners, venture firms, futurists, and purpose-driven institutions. The initiative also leverages SAP’s more than 100 innovation, development, and customer experience centers and SAP’s network of over 17,000 partner companies. SAP Next-Gen connects customers to academic thought leaders and researchers, students, startups, accelerators, tech community partners, purpose-driven partners, venture firms, futurists, and SAP experts to reimagine the future of industries and the intelligent enterprise, seed disruptive innovation with startups, and build skills for digital futures. Customers can benefit from services as well as events from SAP Next-Gen where digital innovators come together in an open community to foster the future of industries with the latest technologies from SAP.