Social Innomarathon: fostering community and environmental impact businesses

21st of July – “I signed up for the program, without imagining how far I would go,” explains Álvaro Nicolás Ruizuly Casas, director of the Foundation for Educational Equity, better known as FEE, the winning organization of the Social Innomarathon 2021 edition, still surprised.

Alvaro is a philosopher and educator from Colombia and, above all, a social entrepreneur who imagines new possible futures where educational technologies support the process of social innovation. Nicolás has two goals in life: to inspire and to never stop learning.

Due to the closure of schools during the pandemic, only 26% of rural high school students in Colombia had access to the Internet over the quarantine. Based on this problem, Nicolás decided to start a project where he could use his extensive knowledge and skills in education and technological innovation to help the community.

This Colombian project became a foundation that provides educational innovation to schools in vulnerable contexts. FEE’s focus is to reduce the rural education gap by transforming pedagogical models, empowering teachers and reaching more students.

FEE’s participation in Social Innomarathon is an example of how SAP, in partnership with Socialab, helps organizations in the process to build projects that can solve social problems through sustainable innovation, seeking and connecting creative minds that can improve people’s quality of life through business.

Nicolás says that he had to go through several obstacles in his foundation, since one of the most common challenges for Latin American NGOs is funding. Winning the Social Innomarathon was extremely gratifying for him, knowing that, through these initiatives, the social impact is recognized as a key indicator for entrepreneurship.

The possibility of partnering with SAP opened doors for FEE, allowing them to expand their visibility. “Thanks to this initiative, we had the opportunity to empower ourselves as an organization and speak with great pride about social transformation and entrepreneurship that go beyond the financial and the returns.”

Nicolás warmly remembers with much gratitude the advice received from SAP and Socialab, which he considered extremely enriching. “They gave us challenging but achievable goals; so that allowed us to experience significant growth.

The competition is not only a great opportunity to learn; it is also a leadership practice to empower team members and involve them in the course of the call, as it can be a transformational process for the company itself”, he added.

Programs such as Social Innomarathon, search for solutions to social problems, focusing on empowering promising initiatives. Like FEE, there are hundreds of startups that benefit from participating in this competition, having the possibility to expand their knowledge with experienced mentors. Both sides working together, have a direct and human influence on the community, generating positive changes.

The call for Social Innomarathon 2022 will be open until August 3rd and this year will be looking to identify startups and impact companies that offer technological solutions aligned to issues such as: employment generation, digital technology training, climate action and circular economy.

Between August 8th and September 5th, the competing startups will be evaluated in two stages to select twelve of them, after that, they will work closely with advisors who will help them to immerse themselves in the SAP business ecosystem. Four finalists will be selected to present their company in front of a virtual panel of SAP executives and customers.

The winning company will receive an intensive experience at SAP Labs Latin America in Brazil, one of the company’s most important global innovation, research and technology centers. In this instance, it will also participate in consultancies with experts and leaders of the innovation and technology ecosystem, to enhance the growth and innovation of the company.

To register for Social Innomarathon, go to http://socialinnomarathon.org/

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