SAP Next-Gen Celebrates Mandela 100 and Purpose-Driven Entrepreneurs in South Africa

When CEOs, entrepreneurs, policymakers, creatives, academics, diplomats, and students gather at TEDxJohannesburg tomorrow they’ll ask “how do we accelerate bold ideas on human progress across disciplines, and how can we share them with the world?” For SAP Next-Gen, the answer is Innovation 4.0.

In the year that Nelson Mandela would have turned 100, TEDxJohannesburg will celebrate Mandela and others like him who blazed a path toward a better world. TEDxJohannesburg 2018: Decoding Greatness, features the tales, deeds, and works of gurus, heroes, and legends living and past, from all walks of life, across disciplines.

Ann Rosenberg, senior vice president and global head of the SAP Next-Gen program, will speak on the TEDxJohannesburg keynote stage, inspiring social innovators in governments, corporates, academia, and the startup world with how young innovators can accelerate solutions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through adopting a next-generation approach to innovation.

Innovation 4.0 combines exponential technologies, purpose thinking, and science fiction thinking to unlock creativity through a future focused vision of purposeful use of digital technologies linked to the SDGs. Science fiction thinking is rapidly becoming an essential ingredient in the innovation process. This makes it a source of competitive advantage as intelligent enterprises seek exponential growth and innovation with purpose.

Enabling a Community of Rising Social Entrepreneurs in Johannesburg

Rosenberg’s visit to South Africa is part of the SAP Next-Gen program’s increasing focus on a region that is becoming recognized as a hub for purpose-driven entrepreneurs who are accelerating disruptive solutions to the SDGs. As part of enabling a community of rising social entrepreneurs in Johannesburg, SAP Next-Gen is supporting Startup Guide in announcing the kickoff of its entrepreneurial guidebook for Johannesburg. The new resource will provide essential information and advice from leading companies, programs, investors, work spaces, and experts to help aspiring entrepreneurs find success in the city, across South Africa, and globally through connections to SAP Next-Gen.

Entrepreneurs, accelerators, co-working spaces, and experts can be nominated to be featured in the entrepreneurial handbook dedicated to Johannesburg’s startup scene. Based on traditional guidebooks that can be carried around everywhere, Startup Guide books help entrepreneurs navigate different startup hubs across the globe and are now in 20 different cities across Europe, the U.S. and the Middle East, including London, New York, Berlin, Tel Aviv, and Stockholm. SAP Next-Gen is a sponsor of Startup Guide books in cities globally.

Packed with city essentials, practical information, in-depth interviews, and insightful tips, Startup Guide Johannesburg will guide, empower, and inspire entrepreneurs in one of South Africa’s most innovative cities to transform their startup ideas into reality. To ensure an accurate and trustworthy guide, the book is co-created with the local startup community, with nominations open from November 29 to December 13, 2018.

“One of the most active hubs for startup investment on the continent, Johannesburg is attracting more and more entrepreneurs with its relatively low cost of living, diverse pool of talent, and growing ecosystem of investors, accelerators, incubators, and co-working spaces ready to support early stage entrepreneurs,” said Sissel Hansen, founder and CEO of Startup Guide. “We’re excited to be expanding our footprint in South Africa’s startup scene, building on the kick off earlier this year of Startup Guide Cape Town.”

“The launch of Startup Guide Johannesburg will create new opportunities for startups in South Africa to connect with a regional and global ecosystem of purpose driven innovators including the ecosystem of SAP customers,” said Cathy Smith, managing director of SAP Africa. “Startup Guide Johannesburg can help them understand the ‘what, how, with whom, and where’ of getting help and inspiration as key ingredients to get their startup going and growing.”

“Startup Guide Johannesburg will enable startups to connect with accelerator programs, matchmaking services, and corporate innovation initiatives, accelerating South Africa as a frontier of innovation with purpose,” said Rosenberg. “By extending our global partnership with Startup Guide to Johannesburg, local entrepreneurs can connect globally to the SAP Next-Gen program’s network of more than 3,600 educational institutions in 116 countries as well as accelerators, tech community partners, venture firms, futurists, purpose-driven institutions, and SAP experts in digital innovation.”

Entrepreneurs in Johannesburg can also build their global networks through connections to more than 100 SAP Next-Gen Chapter locations, think tanks at universities around the world focused on reimagining a future where digital technologies enable solutions to the SDGs.

Empowering Young Women to Become Business Leaders and Change Agents

To accelerate SAP Next-Gen purpose-driven activities in Johannesburg, Rosenberg will also share how startups in Johannesburg, across South Africa, and beyond can join a global movement to make technology and innovation work better for women and girls through #sheinnovates, in support of the UN Women Global Innovation Coalition for Change.  She’ll also share how, in partnership with The Female Quotient, the Girls’ Lounge @ Campus program is opening locations globally among the more than 130 SAP Next-Gen labs and hub locations at universities to help the next generation of leaders connect, collaborate, and activate change together. The first Girls’ Lounge location in Africa opened in August 2018 at the University of Cape Town.

The Girls’ Lounge program returns to South Africa during the Global Citizen Festival December 2 in Johannesburg in partnership with SAP Next-Gen, inspiring a global audience of activist citizens to join the movement to advance gender equality and create next-step solutions for change.

Global Citizen Festival attendees can affirm their commitment to #sheinnovates through supporting the Global Goals World Cup, which at the festival will showcase how it creates sports events that inspire amateur athletes to become champions of the SDGs and drive progress and change in their communities. The Global Goals World Cup was initiated in 2015 by Eir Soccer, a non-profit sports association. The long-term project is an alternative Soccer World Cup and fuses sport and advocacy to support the successful implementation of the SDGs by 2030.  The core element of Global Goals World Cup is a series of local and regional soccer tournaments for women and adolescent girls organized in partnership with a range of partners from multiple sectors.

SAP Next-Gen launched its partnership with Eir Soccer in September at SAP’s offices at Hudson Yards in New York City, where the 48th floor was transformed into a football pitch and 24 amateur women’s teams vied for the trophy designed by world-renowned artist Olafur Eliasson. The games were refereed by Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and actor and UNDP Goodwill Ambassador Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, with Al Jazeera’s Femi Oke in the announcers’ booth.

SAP Next-Gen and Eir Soccer are launching the first Global Goals World Club in Johannesburg. Co-founder Majken Gilmartin will invite the young women to bring sports into their work as purpose driven innovators to explore and find new ways to reach the SDGs.