Blockchain for Good: Empowering Youth Entrepreneurship in Africa

When global leaders convened last week in New York for the 73rd United Nations General Assembly, social innovators in governments, corporates, academia, and the startup world asked: “How can we scale and accelerate action to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development?”

Award-winning recording artist and social entrepreneur Akon had an answer: Akoin, a new blockchain venture that offers a cryptocurrency and DApp ecosystem that aims to create economic inclusion and opportunity for young entrepreneurs in Africa and other lean economies.


During the United Nations General Assembly week in New York City, the SAP Next-Gen program drove “innovation with purpose,” bringing together new partners to engage and inspire a global audience of purpose-driven innovators to join with SAP to accelerate solutions to the Sustainable Development Goals.


Blockchain for Good

On September 27, during the UN General Assembly week, Akoin partnered with the SAP Next-Gen program to host the SDG Blockchain Festival, exploring how blockchain technology contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all by 2030.

“We were excited to be in New York with SAP Next-Gen for Global Goals week, sharing the Akoin venture with others who are passionate about economic growth and empowering our youth,” said Akon, chief visionary and founder of Akoin. “We’re thrilled to partner with SAP Next-Gen to build an ongoing strategy that drives inclusion, innovation, and opportunity for young entrepreneurs.”

SAP Next-Gen in Africa: Empowering Youth Entrepreneurship

The global network of the SAP Next-Gen initiative connects companies to more than 3,600 educational institutions in 116 countries, more than 110 SAP Next-Gen Lab locations and hubs at universities and at partner and SAP locations, and more than 100 SAP Next-Gen Chapters, as well as startups, accelerators, tech community partners, venture firms, futurists, purpose-driven institutions, and SAP experts.

SAP Next-Gen is leveraging its global platform to accelerate the reach and impact of Akoin in Africa and other lean economies.

“We share a joint vision with Akoin to empower young social entrepreneurs in Africa and beyond,” said Ann Rosenberg, senior vice president and global head of SAP Next-Gen. “Whether keynoting at the Ghana Tech Summit, mentoring startups in Johannesburg, fostering STEM education and purpose-driven entrepreneurship through Girls’ Lounges with The Female Quotient, including in Cape Town, connecting startups with key resources through the Startup Guide Cape Town, or crowdsourcing disruptive solutions from startups for global water challenges with Startupbootcamp AfriTech, we can bring our global ‘innovation with purpose’ community together to accelerate Akoin’s vision.”

The power of joining the Akoin and SAP Next-Gen networks was on display during the SDG Blockchain Festival, which featured inspiring keynotes by Akon; Ryan Scott, CEO and co-founder of Akoin; Jon Karas, president and co-founder of Akoin; and Women in Blockchain panel speaker Lynn Liss, COO and co-founder of Akoin.

Innovation leaders from corporates, startups, accelerators, academia, institutions, and governments, along with purpose-driven citizens, including artists and celebrities, heard a call to action to join Akoin and SAP Next-Gen in fostering youth entrepreneurs in Africa and beyond. Lightning pitches inspired participants on how blockchain technology and decentralized applications can contribute to success with the SDGs. Attendees heard opportunities to be part of changing the world through macro, such as ending world hunger, and micro, such as empowering youth entrepreneurship, charitable raffles.

Rosenberg moderated a roundtable on women for the SDGs, exploring opportunities to leverage blockchain for entrepreneurial and economic empowerment. The evening concluded with Akon inspiring attendees to join the movement to use blockchain for good and to be part of empowering youth entrepreneurship in Africa and other lean economies, helping create a more just and equitable world for all.

See a full list of speakers on the event website, video highlights on YouTube, and event photos and coverage on Twitter.

Extending the Reach and Impact of SAP Next-Gen

On September 25 and 26, SAP Next-Gen and the Hasso Plattner Institute hosted the HPI Cybersecurity Symposium in New York, with thought leadership from Prof. Dr. Christoph Meinel and other leading academic and industry speakers.

“The HPI Cybersecurity Symposium showcased the latest cybersecurity research from leading universities in Germany and the U.S., while also demonstrating HPI’s support for Goal 9: secure infrastructure,” said Prof. Dr. Christoph Meinel, Institute Director and CEO, Hasso Plattner Institute. “By engaging globally leading academics in a dialogue with stakeholders from industry, politics, and NGOs, we highlighted opportunities to counter cyber threats through new digital technologies such as Big Data, AI, and blockchain, pointing the way to a more secure world.”

On September 26, SAP Next-Gen and HPI joined with Startupbootcamp AfriTech to host the Innovation 3.0 Water Evening at the SAP office at Hudson Yards, highlighting how SAP Next-Gen and Startupbootcamp AfriTech are accelerating solutions to Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation through the launch of the Epic Groundwater Challenge, which is tapping the creativity of startups to scale groundwater assessment solutions in emerging economies.

“We are honored to work with partners like SAP Next-Gen and Akoin to scout, skill, and scale the inspiring young leaders who are creating solutions for achieving the SDGs,” said Philip Kiracofe, CEO of Startupbootcamp AfriTech. “As a leader in accelerating startups, we help young entrepreneurs from around the world to scale their disruptive ideas into commercially viable enterprises through our Corporate Startup Collaboration programs.”

During UN General Assembly week, Global Startup Ecosystem announced the launch of its virtual accelerator for SDG innovators in collaboration with SAP Next-Gen.

Learn more about SAP Next-Gen

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