Across the world, movements supporting the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are fostering purpose-driven entrepreneurship and harnessing the power of public-private partnerships to scale impact for the SDGs in areas as diverse as eradicating hunger and creating sustainable smart cities.

Building on the momentum of its global agenda for partnerships to achieve the SDGs, specifically its partnership with Startup Guide, the SAP Next-Gen program recently highlighted the expanding impact of purpose-driven entrepreneurship to accelerate solutions to the SDGs around the world.

Fostering Purpose-Driven Entrepreneurs in the Asia Pacific Japan (APJ) Region

In March, SAP Next-Gen and Startup Guide launched Startup Guide Singapore, the first of the series to feature entrepreneurship in Asia.

An Environment of Innovation

Singapore has earned a reputation for its startup talent with one of the fastest growing startup communities in the world. An estimated 55,000 startups exist in Singapore today, a number that has more than doubled over the last decade. The country houses world-class facilities and collaborative co-working spaces such as LaunchPad @ one-north, Level3, and Found8. Startups and large, multinational corporations work alongside one another to generate new ideas to meet tomorrow’s challenges.

Singapore drives innovation by leveraging resources from this strong ecosystem. This creates an opportunity to tap into a diverse pool of talent, connect with thought leaders across industries, and draw on cutting-edge research from top universities, including long-term SAP Next-Gen members such as the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University. The government also supports the digital transformation of the economy through a ‘sandbox’ approach, which provides a productive environment for businesses experimenting with innovative methods. The active entrepreneurial landscape in Singapore laid the groundwork for the launch of the latest Startup Guide.

Showcasing SAP.iO Foundries

At the launch of Startup Guide Singapore, 200 participants gathered at Level3 to hear from Paul Marriott, senior vice president of Digital Core Solutions for SAP APJ, as well as Cargill, Enterprise Singapore, and Tech in Asia. Marriott highlighted how SAP helps foster the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Singapore through SAP.iO Foundry Singapore, which supports visionary startups and provides access to SAP technology. He also presented SAP customer and startup CrowdfarmX and its efforts to advance progress towards UN Global Goal 2: Zero Hunger.

“Digital technologies are empowering SMEs and startups to bring innovative ideas to life and scale their operations rapidly. To win in today’s competitive marketplace, businesses need to innovate with speed to deliver business outcomes,” said Scott Russell, president of SAP APJ. “With the launch of SAP.iO Foundry Singapore and SAP Next-Gen, we are bringing together startups in our ecosystem to drive purpose-led impact and deliver value to our customers.”

Startup Guide Bangkok Kick Off

Days after the launch of Startup Guide Singapore, Startup Guide kicked off Startup Guide Bangkok, inviting the Bangkok startup ecosystem to engage in its creation. “With a flourishing fintech sector, rapidly developing infrastructure, and good government support, nimbler startups in Bangkok working on purposeful innovation can help Thailand’s customers derive greater value at a fraction of the time it takes many large enterprises,” said Verena Siow, managing director of SAP IndoChina.

A Call-to-Action for Sustainable Smart Cities

To highlight the power of entrepreneurship to help reshape the environment where people live, work, and thrive, Rosenberg will speak about sustainable smart cities as a panelist at the World Resources Institute (WRI) Courage to Lead Dinner. The biennial event recognizes outstanding ideas, people, and organizations committed to protecting the planet and improving people’s lives.

This year, WRI and Stephen Ross will announce the inaugural winner of the WRI Ross Prize for Cities, a new global competition celebrating urban transformation and encouraging replication of lessons learned around the world. Several of this year’s finalists grew from startups to scalable solutions. For example, Amend’s School Area Road Safety Assessments and Improvements (SARSAI) program creates roadside infrastructure interventions that prioritize children’s safety as they travel to and from school. This initiative grew from a $100,000 grant in one city to a program that protects thousands of children in 50 high-risk school areas in nine countries.

The evening will also feature a special tribute to Hudson Yards. “The soul of Hudson Yards lies in the community, where everyone cares about others,” said Ann Rosenberg, senior vice president and global head of SAP Next-Gen. “SAP Next-Gen continues to support entrepreneurial initiatives and the development of sustainable smart cities to create a better world.”