SAP and Acumen today said they have invested into three social entrepreneurs in East Africa, designed to help the companies grow and scale in a bid to create jobs for East Africa’s youth.
The three social ventures selected for the 2015 SAP Social Entrepreneur Fellowship include Sproxil, a mobile verification service that helps protect consumers from counterfeit medicine and other health products. Sanergy, a sanitation company that provides clean, affordable toilets and waste management services to low-cost areas and SolarNow, a renewable energy company selling and financing solar home systems for low-income communities.
The three were chosen for their proven business model, potential to scale and outlook for job growth and social impact. The CEOs of the selected companies will participate in a 100-day fellowship program in Silicon Valley.
Acumen’s East Africa Director Duncan Onyango said, “Our hope is that, by leveraging SAP’s core capabilities and by utilizing their fellow CEOs as resources, this cohort of Acumen entrepreneurs will be able to not only scale their enterprises but also share best practices with others in the region to influence the overall sector and deepen their impact.”
Acumen will be working with SAP’s SAP Skills for Africa initiative to promote education to improve the problem of chronic youth unemployment and expand the IT workforce. According to a survey released today by SAP SE and global nonprofit organization, Endeavor, over 1.5 million people are currently unemployed in Kenya, and over a third of them are young people between the ages of 15 and 24. Kenya’s workforce is projected to grow by 3.4 million people by 2020, due primarily to young adults entering the job market.
The firms expect to use high growth entrepreneurs to create jobs as the number of entrepreneurs is growing at 20 percent or more per year according to the survey which we are yet to see. The 20 percent represent only five percent of Kenyan firms but create over 70 percent of the total new jobs.
Pfungwa Serima, CEO SAP Africa. “Small businesses can significantly help to reduce youth unemployment in this important market. As this announcement underscores, SAP is committed to finding innovative ways to solve critical social and business issues in Africa and provide today’s young people – and tomorrow’s leaders — with access to the tools they need to succeed in the digital and networked economy.”