A group of high innovators from East Africa have joined the SAP social Entrepreneur Fellowship in Silicon Valley this week, for a 100-day fellowship programme that consists of two parts; a 10-day leadership boot camp in Silicon Valley starting this week, followed by on-site mentorship, assistance and on-going support upon the entrepreneurs’ return.
The programme was launched in April this year with a goal of accelerating the growth and impact of social enterprises that are in the critical stage of shifting from start-up to early phase. Also the fellowship is meant to serve as enablement for emerging entrepreneurs to achieve a strategic view of growth and scale for their businesses, and to find faster solutions to poverty in East Africa.
The participating entrepreneurs from East Africa come from diverse industries representing social enterprises in agriculture, energy, healthcare, and water and sanitation. Their businesses have proven business models with the potential to scale and replicate across multiple markets, while the entrepreneurs themselves have demonstrated a strong commitment to leadership across the sector. The selected African CEOs in the programme, all Acumen investees, are:
- David Auerbach, Sanergy, Kenya
- Mark Davies, Esoko, Ghana
- Ashifi Gogo, Sproxil, Kenya
- Willem Nolens, SolarNow, Uganda
- John Waibochi, Virtual City, Kenya
- Peter Scott, Burn Manufacturing, Kenya
The initiative under SAP’s ‘Skills for Africa’ is reflective of intense collaboration between SAP Africa and its partners, many of whom are also united by a mission to drive socio-economic growth and stimulate job creation.
A recent research study carried out by UK-based business networking group, Approved Index, ranks Africa as the best field for entrepreneurs globally, with the highest level of entrepreneurship in Uganda. Social enterprises are a significant driving force for economic growth and job creation in East Africa. Having successfully mastered the challenges of establishing a start-up company with a proven business model, the next challenge for these social entrepreneurs is to set their companies up for sustainable success.
In the fellowship, CEOs will address their primary challenges associated with growth. They will learn how to build a strategy for scale from experienced tech entrepreneurs, business experts and impact investors and leave the fellowship with a clear plan of execution.
Acumen a non-profit global venture fund also in conjunction will provide its suite of post-investment resources including technical assistance and mentorship to the CEOs during implementation. SAP will provide functional expertise to ensure that the CEOs have access to high-quality information and technology insights. Addressing the major challenges to scale will allow these emerging entrepreneurs to attract follow-on capital and grow to deliver sustained value to the poor.