SAP employees from around the world in East Africa for a month to help address local business challenges
KENYA, NAIROBI — This week sees a group of 12 SAP employees from around the world – including an applications performance testing expert from Israel, a software developer from France and a subject matter expert from Ireland – land in Nairobi to spend a month working with four local organisations that, in one way or another, are making life better for the communities they serve.
These SAP employees are part of a global SAP programme, called the SAP Social Sabbatical, which matches talented employees with entrepreneurs and small businesses in emerging markets. A relatively new area for international corporate volunteering, the social sabbatical initiative was launched in 2012 with 30 employees in Brazil, India and South Africa respectively. A second team spent time in Johannesburg, South Africa in October, 2013. The addition of Kenya is part of an overall expansion of the program that will soon send up to 100 SAP employees to emerging markets to make a difference.
“We are excited to be hosting this dynamic group of employees from all over the world. A group of employees who work together to solve a problem in a foreign setting can very often not only strengthen communities, but help mould these individuals as future leaders,” said Andrew Waititu, MD of SAP East Africa. “This is proving to be the case in Kenya as one of our partners in the Social Sabbatical programme this year, Acumen, has demonstrated with the inclusion of two of the four benefactor companies who are realising very positive social change in the region already. The social sabbatical programme allows us to provide our people with innovative development opportunities while strengthening entrepreneurship in emerging economies”
Kenneth Macharia, business development and communications manager at Acumen, explained: “When we heard about the SAP Social Sabbatical team coming to Kenya, we simply had to get involved. The programme represents an opportunity for Acumen to partner with SAP in effecting social impact and change in East Africa.”
Acumen is a social impact organisation that raises philanthropic funds and invests the same in game changing companies delivering critical goods and services to underserved low income communities in East & West Africa, India, Pakistan and Colombia. These companies operate in various fields, including agriculture, healthcare, water and sanitation, energy, education and affordable housing and all share a common goal – to find new ways to tackle poverty and change things for the communities they serve – and now two of them will be benefactors of the SAP Social Sabbatical in Kenya.
The East Africa Social Sabbatical team will be in Nairobi from early April until the beginning of May and will be working with the following organisations: Sanergy, Juhudi Kilimo, Open Capital Advisors and African Management Initiative to help solve some of their most pressing business needs.
An in-depth look at the benefactors
Sanergy is a sanitation provider in urban slums in the region. The company builds healthy communities by making hygienic sanitation accessible and affordable for everyone. Starting in Nairobi’s slums, they are taking a systems-based approach to building out the entire sanitation value chain.
Here, the SAP team will be conducting a needs assessment of the company’s current data analytics systems and will form recommendations based on the findings to build out Sangery’s data analytics strategy and approach.
Juhudi Kilimo is a for-profit social enterprise that provides agriculture-based, micro-asset financing loans to small hold farmers to help them acquire farming assets. Macharia says the provision of micro-loans to these farmers has made a huge impact in a region that sees the majority of the people in the community relying on these farms for income and food. With Juhudi, the SAP team will be finding ways to keep all rural field offices in communication and updated with the head office. They will also be exploring processes and procedures to better deploy core technologies.
The third benefactor is Open Capital Advisors, a financial services and strategy consulting firm that supports high-impact businesses, investors and innovation throughout East Africa. The company provides advisory services and support to NGOs and designs innovative SME support mechanisms. The SAP team have been tasked with developing an organisation-wide customer relationship management (CRM) strategy, including a central system that will allow staff to aggregate and organise relationships with external players and track them across organisations, geographies and time.
African Management Initiative is the fourth and final benefactor. AMI works to empower East African managers and entrepreneurs in small and medium sized businesses by providing practical and affordable learning and coaching tools and by creating communities of practice and accountability, both online and offline. The SAP team will be developing, testing and refining a robust franchise-style model for scaling the company’s blended Learning Lab model across Africa through a network of AMI-accredited edu-preneurs.
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Acumen is working to change the way the world tackles poverty by investing in companies, leaders and ideas. We invest patient capital in business models that deliver critical goods and services to the world’s poor, improving the lives of millions. Since 2001, Acumen has invested more than $87 million in 81 companies across Africa and South Asia. We are also working to build a global community of emerging leaders that believe in creating a more inclusive world through the tools of both business and philanthropy. Please visit www.acumen.org for more information.
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