Supporting Africa to Lead in the Race for the UN SDGs

This week in Cape Town, during the week of the World Economic Forum on Africa, the SAP Next-Gen program is sharing a call to action: Join the movement to lead with purpose across Africa.

Along with SAP Africa, Startupbootcamp AfriTech, Deloitte DigitalHasso Plattner Institute, HPI D-School, and Startup Guide, SAP Next-Gen is working to foster next-generation social entrepreneurs, support young women and girls in science, technology, engineering, arts, and science (STEAM), and use technology for good.

Leading with Purpose in Africa

Prominent leaders of global society are gathering in Cape Town, South Africa, to ask how to scale up the transformation of regional architecture related to smart institutions, investment, integration, industry, and innovation. SAP Africa and the SAP Next-Gen program will share perspectives addressing these challenges.

“Digital technology in Africa will enable exponential growth and inclusive, sustainable development in the coming years,” said Cathy Smith, managing director of SAP Africa. “SAP Africa seeks to support our customer base and drive the innovative mission of SAP while supporting local leadership in South Africa, encouraging equality in the workplace, and furthering the country’s ambitious development vision.”

“As Africa welcomes a new wave of social and economic progress, the continent has the opportunity to integrate purpose into technological development, leadership structures, and industry to drive accelerated achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Ann Rosenberg, senior vice president and global head of SAP Next-Gen, SAP University Alliances, and UN Partnerships at SAP. “The SAP Next-Gen program and SAP Africa support innovative communities that promote sustainable development for a better world.”

Fostering Social Entrepreneurs Across the Continent

During a time of political and economic change in the world’s youngest continent, a significant opportunity exists to scale up and transform the future of Africa through entrepreneurial innovation.

The theme of this year’s World Economic Forum on Africa is “Shaping Inclusive Growth and Shared Futures in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” Industry-focused conversations will build on the launch of the first African Affiliate Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in South Africa, which aims to shape policy frameworks and encourage partnerships that leverage scientific and technological advancements to improve society. The affiliate serves as a platform for collaboration around the mastery of emerging technologies. This provides the community of next-generation social entrepreneurs in South Africa the opportunity to innovate at scale.

To support purpose-driven startups in South Africa to connect with the global network of academic institutions, accelerators, corporations, and partners associated with SAP Next-Gen and championing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), Startup Guide is partnering with SAP to launch two guidebooks for the region on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on Africa.

“To foster the innovative entrepreneurial communities in the region aligned with purpose, the Startup Guide books for Cape Town and Johannesburg provide access to practical resources, business advice, in-depth interviews, and a community that will inspire founders to pursue revolutionary business ideas,” said Sissel Hansen, founder and CEO of Startup Guide.

“Business mentorship and corporate backing from Startupbootcamp AfriTech gives African founders a critical boost as they refine, implement, and grow truly disruptive entrepreneurial endeavors,” said Philip Kiracofe, CEO and co-founder of Startupbootcamp AfriTech. “As part of a global accelerator network, Startupbootcamp AfriTech supports high-growth startups that scale impactful solutions with the potential to powerfully transform the African continent.”

“The UN SDGs are big to-do list, challenging industries to re-imagine the future with exponential technologies, build skills for digital futures, and showcase thought leaders,” said Zachariah George, chief investment officer and co-founder, Startupbootcamp AfriTech. “This year’s Startupbootcamp AfriTech cohort is developing solutions to some of Africa’s greatest challenges such as housing and financial inclusion.”

Supporting Young Women and Girls in STEAM

SAP Next-Gen empowers young women and girls in STEAM as demonstrated through its partnership with the Female Quotient, uniting a global movement focused on empowering women and girls in technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship linked to the UN SDGs.

“The network around SAP Next-Gen of more than 3,800 educational institutions in 117 countries provides an opportunity to inspire young women and girls to enter STEAM careers and foster the next generation of female leaders in Africa and around the world,” said Kwena Mabotja, director, Sub-Saharan Africa, SAP Next-Gen.

“The first design thinking school on the African continent, the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design Thinking, a strong partner of SAP Next-Gen, opened at the University of Cape Town in 2015,” said Prof. Dr. Christoph Meinel, institute director and CEO of the Hasso Plattner Institute. “The school equips youth, including young women, with the tools to develop a design thinking mindset that will unlock the creative capacity needed to confront the opportunities and challenges of a changing world.”

Activating Collaboration Among UN SDG Champions

Today, the Startup Guide Cape Town Launch celebrated the availability of Startup Guide Cape Town created in partnership with SAP Next-Gen, with an event and panel on South Africa’s startup and innovation ecosystem. A second session, “Public-Private Partnerships for the Global Goals,” brought participants together to share success stories and mechanisms that foster public-private partnerships toward the achievement of the UN SDGs. The session featured Matt Jennings, global vice president for Intelligent Enterprise Solutions at SAP.

Tomorrow, the “Innovation with Purpose” session convenes thought leaders, influencers, and change makers to share key insights on African-led innovation to drive positive impact for the African continent. The session will feature Rudeon Snell, director, Intelligent Enterprise Solutions,  Southern EMEA, SAP; Liezel van der Westhuizen, TV personality, influencer, and entrepreneur; Christoph Viaraud, CEO and chairmain, AfricaArena; Danai Musandu, investment associate, Goodwell; and Philani Mdingi, director of Digital Strategy, Maverick Mind.

On September 6, “Digital Skills for the Global Goals” features Richard Perez, director of HPI D-School; Ulrike Rivett, director of the University of Cape Town School of IT; Gugu Nonjinge from Dreamgirls Academy; and Mervyn George, innovation strategist, SAP.

Technology for Good

The definition of winning is changing. A new framework for assessing and measuring the impact and power of digital technologies can unite industry thought leaders to make sustainable living the new normal by 2030 and beyond.

“Technology can do anything we want it to do,” said Rosenberg. “The impact will occur when citizens step up to leverage and scale it in novel ways to inspire positive progress in a rapidly changing world.”

Later this month during the UN General Assembly week, SAP Next-Gen will host a series of meetups and activations in New York around sport for good, public-private partnerships, gender equality, climate action, and more, to engage purpose-driven leaders and citizens driven by the desire to develop solutions that will enable the world to meets its 2030 targets.