What a year 2020 was; with the onset of the pandemic, everything changed. Those who pivoted and embraced the changes quickly stood like a beacon of hope for the rest.

As the first cases of COVID-19 were confirmed globally, the team running SAP One Billion Lives, the company’s flagship social intrapreneurship program, understood that 2020 would be the year where everything would need to move online.

“If there were ever a year to celebrate the creativity, collaboration, and passion of our people, this would be that year,” said Deb Kaplan, head of SAP One Billion Lives. “This year’s teams have been put to the test to solve social and environmental problems focused on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and COVID-19 in a fully virtual environment. With a global pandemic displacing many teams from one another due to lockdowns and quarantines, these teams continued to push themselves to find new ways to work together, solve problems, communicate more effectively, and complete the journey that they started and refused to give up on.”

Teams from across the globe joined the 2020 SAP One Billion Lives challenges with over 640 submissions. More than 2,000 employees tested their limits, participating in over 40 virtual idea factories, seven regional demo days, fast track enablement, base camp, accelerator, and investment committee meetings—all to make a difference in our communities and improve people’s lives.

After successfully evaluating all presentations, we are excited to share the 2020 teams within SAP One Billion Lives with the most mature and impactful social innovation ideas.

Impact Venture


Recycletronics will build a marketplace for electronic manufacturers and e-waste recyclers to drive value from unused electronics while addressing the negative impact of e-waste on the environment and human health. Learn more.

Regional Impact Transformation Ventures

Social Recruiting

There are currently more than 1 billion people in the world suffering from poverty. In Japan, this is no exception. While the third-largest economy in the world, its poverty levels hover around 16%, even prior to COVID-19. Compounded with the effects of the pandemic, people are even more at a disadvantage. So how SAP help? This team from Japan was able to find a solution. Learn more.

Mask Makers Platform

By reusing facial masks, toxic emissions can be reduced by up to 84%. The team behind Mask Makers Platform saw these statistics and realized that during COVID-19 the need for masks that were reusable was not only necessary, it was critical. Learn more.


Coming from many different backgrounds, team members quickly found a common thread during their idea factory session: the growing issue of unemployment. Compounded with the current pandemic, this gaping issue was becoming even bigger–fast. Learn more.


Today, it is estimated that one in 15 people in China lives with a disability, affecting 20% of families. In addition, a 2013 report conducted by Human Rights Watch found that 43% of disabled people in China were illiterate, compared to five percent of able-bodied counterparts. The report also noted that with limits to aid, approximately 15% receive any funding or support. With these barriers in place, these communities are often living in poverty with no means of getting out. This is where team Athena hopes to make a difference. Learn more.


Within one year, deforestation within the Amazon rose nearly 30%, creating even more strain on the natural world. The mission of one non-governmental organization (NGO) to help communities within the Amazon helped this team identify and solve two common pain points for NGOs by creating a platform to help streamline processes and create transparency where it is needed most. Learn more.

Cloud for Biodiversity

On average, animal populations—including mammals, reptiles, fish, and others—have declined by 68% in the last 50 years. The fact is staggering and leaves a huge crisis for the well-being of our planet that Cloud for Biodiversity plans to address. Learn more.


In the spring of 2020, due to COVID-19, schools across the U.S. shut down and dining room tables became the new school desks overnight. A study presented by Brown University noted that when students start the 2020-21 school year, they were only returning with average 66% of the learning gains for reading in a typical year and an average 44% of the math gains. Educators within the school systems were seeing the effects of the pandemic firsthand and realizing that many students were being put in unfair circumstances; creating an even bigger learning gap. TutorAll, decided to find a solution. Learn more.

Take a Deeper Dive into the Teams


Today, we rely heavily on electronics, from the phones in our pockets, to the computers we use for work and entertainment. But what happens with the old phones that we trade in? Or to the computers that become obsolete? The 2019 article on downtoearth.org states that only 20% of global e-waste is recycled. According to Global E-Waste Monitor 2017, India generates 2 million tons of e-waste annually, ranking fifth among e-waste-producing countries.

The Recycletronics team, based out of SAP Labs India, is working to develop a digital marketplace for electronic manufacturers and e-waste recyclers where they could connect and acquire the materials for secondary marketplaces. This will not only help reduce the amount of global waste, but also help develop a plan for how recycled materials can be introduced back into the industry.

The key market will be in India, where nearly 90% of the e-waste is informally recycled, meaning it is not government-certified and poses a health concern to workers. Consumer electronics in India account for approximately 70% of the total electronic waste and hence could potentially contribute $850 million value in derived recycled raw materials, if properly introduced into secondary market. The Reclycletronics team has their eyes set on developing this secondary marketplace.

Cerebra Green, India’s largest e-waste recycler, is already onboarded, and the team looks forward to continuing to create partnerships with more organizations in 2021. As the demand for electronics continues to grow, the team hopes that this venture will restore some balance to the output of waste while adding value to secondary markets.

Social Recruiting Platform

While attending a workshop designed to combat the poverty issue, SAP Value Advisor Expert Satoru Ota had the idea of digitalizing a job-matching process that would help the unemployed people who are suffering from poverty to find quality positions. From there, Ota worked with his team in SAP Fieldglass to determine if a solution would be possible. Once the SAP Fieldglass team members were able to review, they began to pull in other employees to help add their industry knowledge, and the team began to grow.

A differentiating aspect of the Social Recruitment Platform is that it is meant to be a network where employees can feel confident that companies using it treat their employee well while also empowering the individuals to be matched with positions that best suit them.

Team member Roman Rozanec noted that a similar endeavor was piloted in the U.S., called SAP Fieldglass External Talent Marketplace. This project was able to connect employers who had open contract positions with job seekers. It was this talent pool that provided significant insights for Social Recruitment Platform.

“At the end of the day, we know how difficult life can be to find a job under the best of circumstances, and it is really heartening to know that we will be making a difference by helping poor communities get back on their feet, reestablishing themselves, and empowering them to live a productive life,” Ota said. “When we succeed in Japan, we hope to roll out globally. Thanks to SAP One Billon Lives, we already have global access.”

Social Recruitment Platform is currently looking into creating a customizable job matching digital platform and working with partners in Grameen Japan to pilot the idea.

In the long term, Ota hopes that this venture will be used by major companies across the industries and stakeholders. The more companies come on board, the bigger the impact the platform will have. Ota also hopes not only to help in poverty-stricken areas, but also to evolve to help others, such as artists, independent contractors, and those whose industries may offer poorer visibility into open positions.

Mask Makers Platform

When Juriaan Mulder, an SAP Netherlands employee, saw the launch of the COVID-19 sprint for SAP One Billion Lives in response to the pandemic, he started wondering: “Could we do something to help within SAP?” Mike Muurmans, Mulder’s manager, was supportive and allowed him to facilitate a team meeting with the presales team to brainstorm ideas.

At the start of the pandemic, the mask shortage was acute as global supply chains were disrupted. The team tasked themselves with solving three problems at once: help alleviate immediate need for masks; bring the supply chain closer to cut down on emissions; and produce reusable masks to alleviate the landfill problem.

They found the answer in creating a network for 3D printing.

The network brings together SAP Ariba software, customers in need of facial masks, and 3D printing businesses. Through SAP Ariba, organizations worldwide will be able to identify 3D printing companies closest to them and purchase reusable facial masks.

With the idea in place, the team created partnerships with companies that have validated and contributed to the solution and the work to develop agreements in 2021, is already underway.

“I hope this is a win for all parties, with SAP being the host for everyone’s success,” said Mulder.


Many see the hiring process as “find a position, apply, get hired—rinse and repeat.” But that is not the process for many blue-collar workers who still struggle to find available opportunities. These communities often do not have cover letters or resumes to lean on, but still need to find jobs to support themselves and their families. Sebenza team decided to create a mobile app to address this situation.

The team partnered with the Southern Caribbean Islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to hone their venture’s idea. Because the Caribbean is heavily dependent on tourism, the islands saw unprecedented levels of unemployment during the pandemic. With the partnership, the team was able engage IT students on the islands and identify ministries within the country with which they could further partner.

Simultaneously, Sebenza worked collaboratively to create a good mobile app experience. A survey within Johannesburg indicated that approximately 65% of the people in the target group had smartphones. Additionally, they were able to identify roughly 300,000 free Wi-Fi hotspots within the communities as well, meaning that 50% of the target audience had personal Internet access, and the rest would be able to easily access via hotspots, which validated the mobile-first approach.

When asked about his experience with SAP One Billion Lives thus far, Mario Mustapic, a senior solutions sales executive for SAP Oman, shared: “The most impressive part is that you meet as strangers, with geographical constraints, yet your ideas unite you. Once you validate an idea, you can really reach the regional and even global scale. It’s such a great opportunity.”


In the small city of Taicang, China, there is an inclusion factory to facilitate the inclusion of differently abled people into society through meaningful employment. Through the SAP Social Sabbatical program, SAP initiated a collaboration with the factory in 2018. The team grasped just how prevalent disabilities were and how many obstacles had to be overcome by differently abled people in society.

Team Athena hopes to make a difference by discovering what was and what was not working for the differently abled recruitment experience—finding the gaps and working to solve them. Athena has successfully built and deployed an intelligent production planning application for Taicang Inclusion Factory. They are planning to design and build an intelligent tool that helps recruiters find differently abled people who are currently looking for a job. The team also is scoping out an inclusion dashboard and additional tools that should not only help recruiters, but also support the individuals in overcoming personal life barriers as well.

Athena’s main goal is to help create ways in which differently abled communities are seen, included, and accepted by society. It was here that the team leader Jason Sun, a principal support engineer with SAP China, explained, “We hope to really help these people improve their lives in every way.”


When it comes to deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, a Vox article noted that it has increased almost 30% between summer of 2018 through July 2019. With more than 9,700 square kilometers deforested, the area is bigger than that of Yellowstone National Park in North America.

Green Hope is an NGO working within the Amazon to teach communities there how to thrive economically through reforestation and resource management. Its mission helped ignite the Greensap team’s idea.

Alejandro Vera, a Greensap team lead, was friends with Green Hope President Chan Shigematsu, and was inspired by the work the organization was doing. During the brainstorming, Greensap and Green Hope agreed to work together on the lack of transparency and traceability of donated funds passing through the current process.

Utilizing the Hyperledger Fabric on SAP Cloud Platform and SAP HANA spatial services, Greensap is working on the solution for smart contracts that make donations transparent, reliable, and conditionally tied to the automated process tracking.

Having validated the market gap and the need for a solution with NGOs, the team is currently in discussion with a number of new NGOs and certification companies to further validate their idea.

Matheus Leao, a data scientist with SAP Latin America & Caribbean, stated that one of Greensap’s first goals this year will be to produce a new development backlog to reflect the changes that the solution has acquired, based on the learnings gained from the SAP One Billion Lives events. Additionally, he noted that the team hopes to solidify additional partnership and secure more pilot customers.

“Our aim is to improve people’s lives by making the planet greener,” Leao said. “We want to support reforestation initiatives worldwide, helping bring more awareness and funding to NGOs and optimizing the cost of tree planting.”

Cloud for Biodiversity

In seeing the urgency around biodiversity, the Cloud for Biodiversity team was committed to finding a way to assist national parks and protected areas in the efforts to preserve nature and its ecosystems. Team member Lars Friedrich, a principal business process architect for SAP Germany, felt that there must be a way SAP could help turn the tide.

He was joined by Markus Herhold and Carsten Homeyer and the team met several relevant NGOs, including the Frankfurt Zoological Society, to discuss the major pain points facing these biodiversity stewards. Areas for action proved to be holistic park management, biodiversity monitoring, and park tourist experience. The team decided to create an open platform that would provide digital services to secure biological diversity and social-economic support.

Translating this plan into the SAP product wheelhouse, the team noted that each issue would be best supported by a different SAP solution. For park management, the team would work to digitalize park processes, such as finance, sales, and human resources (HR), through SAP Business One.

For biodiversity monitoring, SAP Business Technology Platform would be used to create a monitoring platform for key biodiversity indicators, animal health, and other vital information in protected areas. And park and tourist experience would rely heavily on Experience Management solutions from SAP and Qualtrics to measure the experience of tourists and provide feedback to the park, agencies, and surrounding communities.

“This will really be a win-win situation for everyone – from parks and protected areas to NGOs, SAP, and institutions that want to invest in this area,” said Homeyer.

Echoing his sentiment, Friedrich added, “I believe SAP could be a real role model here and provide customers a way to offset carbon footprint, or even a way in which they could invest into nature and biodiversity.”

As a next step, the team will pilot Cloud for Biodiversity in 2021 with Frankfurt Zoological Society and two associated national parks in Africa: Gonarezhou in Zimbabwe and North Luangwa in Zambia.


Sachin Bapat, a value advisor expert at SAP North America, has been involved non-profits and volunteering within the education realm for years. Having had ideas about how to help drive equity in education, in the spring of 2020 Bapat saw the need to support teaching students more than ever before—and decided that he needed to find a solution.

Bapat recalls thinking, “Can we take what is already happening through the nonprofit brick and mortar organizations and get that online?” As he began to reach out to his network, he was able to create a team within SAP who shared his passion for education. Through an idea factory session and a lot of teamwork, the product was molded into what it is today: a platform for end-to-end process of recruiting, onboarding, and training tutors.

In early 2021, the team hopes to partner with United Way of Atlanta to execute a proof of concept in order to create a minimal viable product.

TutorAll sees the venture utilizing SAP SuccessFactors solutions, SAP Business Technology Platform, and Experience Management solutions from SAP and Qualtrics as they continue to work on the tools for the platform. The aim is focus on what the nonprofits need immediately, and ultimately create a platform that enables different end user journeys that will differ for students, tutors, administrators, and so on.

Bapat notes that the end goal is widespread adoption of the solution. As the solution’s value proves itself, the solution should scale to bigger schools within the state, then to national level, and finally to global-level agencies.

“The dream is to have millions of students using TutorAll for their benefit across the world,” Bapat explained.
“SAP is uniquely positioned because we already have education solutions for local, state, and federal governments. Once we have the model validated, we want to be able to utilize these relationships to drive much faster and much broader applications.”