Selected Social Entrepreneurs to Take Part in Silicon Valley Fellowship Program
NAIROBI, KENYA—April 22, 2015 – Acumen and SAP SE (NYSE: SAP), a global business software leader, are working together to accelerate the growth of social enterprises in East Africa and India. Bringing together Acumen’s 14 years of investing in early-stage social enterprises with SAP’s global business and innovation expertise, this unique collaboration will connect entrepreneurs from Acumen’s portfolio from across a wide spectrum of sectors and geographical borders to deepen their business capabilities and drive faster solutions to global poverty.
“Given the importance of building more inclusive and sustainable business models, we see an exciting opportunity to link global industry leaders such as SAP with the world’s emerging entrepreneurs, especially those focused on tackling major global challenges,” said Yasmina Zaidman, Director of Strategic Partnerships at Acumen.
At the core of the collaboration is the “Social Entrepreneur Fellowship,” a 100-day program that connects the selected CEOs with Silicon Valley leaders, influencers and investors. The fellowship program, which builds upon SAP’s Emerging Entrepreneur Initiative, aims to address the shared challenges social enterprises face in emerging markets and equip the CEOs with business and technology expertise, as well as access to networks, to help them drive innovation and social impact in their respective countries.
“High-growth entrepreneurs have enormous potential to be major job engines in countries where the challenges, particularly around youth unemployment, are very high,” said Alicia Lenze, head of corporate social responsibility at SAP. “Bringing to bear SAP’s engaged employees and vast business network—we have the opportunity to propel these socially driven companies to further success in finding innovative solutions to critical social issues in East Africa and India.”
The CEOs will participate first in a two-week leadership development program in Silicon Valley in July, followed by 13 weeks of mentoring and technical support in their countries. At the fellowship’s end, the CEOs will have gained a more strategic view of growth for their companies along with a global network of social entrepreneurs, business experts and investors who can help make that growth a reality. The first of the selected entrepreneurs were announced today at the SAP Forum Africa, the company’s information and communication technology conference in Nairobi. Representing a diverse mix of enterprises from Acumen’s portfolio focused on health care, education and livelihoods, the CEOs include:
- David Auerbach, Sanergy – Sanergy is a sanitation company that provides affordable toilets and waste management services to low-income areas in Kenya.
- Ashifi Gogo, Sproxil – Sproxil is a mobile verification service that helps protect East African consumers from counterfeit medicine.
- Willem Nolens, SolarNow – SolarNow is a renewable energy company selling and financing solar home systems for low-income communities in Uganda.
- As more entrepreneurs continue to be selected, a complete list, along with bios, will be available at http://acumen.org/blog/catalyzing-the-growth-of-social-enterprises-with-sap.“These entrepreneurs recognize the importance of technology in bringing their companies to scale, and this fellowship will provide them with the support and technical expertise they need,” said Acumen’s East Africa Director Duncan Onyango. “Most importantly, the fellowship will create a global community of CEOs who will become invaluable resources for each other and build more effective organizations to serve East Africa.”About Acumen
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 $88 million in 82 companies across South Asia and Africa. 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. Learn more at www.acumen.org and on Twitter @Acumen.
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Contact: Carolyn Bielfeldt Associate Director of External Communications, Acumen 646.747.3968 | firstname.lastname@example.org