To help New Zealand’s established and emerging social entrepreneurs succeed, SAP has announced a strategic partnership with Ākina Foundation, a leading charity dedicated to growing social enterprises across New Zealand.
Through the partnership SAP and Ākina aim to grow the sector by developing new market and investment opportunities for social enterprises, organisations that use business to solve social and environmental problems and benefit the community. The two organisations will activate talent, raise awareness and build capability, as well as directly support existing and emerging social enterprises to prosper and increase their impact.
The Ākina Foundation is a charity focused on growing social enterprise across New Zealand. Ākina’s mission is to grow the emerging New Zealand social enterprise sector by activating talent, supporting social enterprises to grow and increase their impact, as well as developing new market and investment opportunities for social enterprise. Ākina has supported over 600 social enterprises and won the 2015 NZI Sustainable Business Network Business Award for Community Innovation.
Social entrepreneurship and enterprise is growing rapidly in New Zealand, and there is increasing demand for specialised development and growth support. SAP will provide NZD 50,000 annually, which Ākina will distribute across its core programmes to support social entrepreneurs and enterprises at all stages of their development, including the innovation process, skills and leadership development, start-up acceleration, impact modelling, growth services and investment readiness.
Additionally, SAP intends to act as a key advisor in the identification and implementation of a digital learning management system designed to help Ākina scale its reach and enable social entrepreneurs to develop the expertise and best practice they need to succeed.
“This is a sophisticated partnership that will provide critical funding to support social entrepreneurs and also much more,” said Alex Hannant, CEO of Ākina Foundation. “Through Ākina, SAP will be able to provide targeted business mentoring and technology assistance to make a real difference to start-ups grappling with multiple development challenges. By supporting high-potential social enterprises, SAP can help create a pipeline of innovative ventures that will be committed to delivering community impact for the long haul. I think it will also provide provocation and inspiration to their own business and people.”
SAP staff have already begun mentoring and supporting social entrepreneurs in business planning for their products and services through Ākina, and will continue to do so as the partnership develops.
“SAP’s support through Ākina Foundation has provided valuable expertise,” said Jackson Wood, CEO of Ora Safety and Health. “Having an SAP staffer on board helped us think strategically and flesh out our approach to enterprise level development.” The Ora Safety and Health team are currently developing a tool for people who work on safety-sensitive worksites that helps them ensure they are safe to work. The tool tests individuals for impairment through fatigue, stress, illness or alcohol consumption to make workplaces safer.
“The line between business outcomes and social outcomes is blurring,” said Graeme Riley, Managing Director, SAP New Zealand. “Today, social impact and commercial success go hand in hand as more organisations align their business models toward a greater good. New Zealand’s work in this blended space is accelerating, with both established organisations and start-ups taking on social challenges and delivering successful businesses. SAP is thrilled to partner with a charity of such calibre as Ākina to help social entrepreneurs scale their impact in New Zealand and internationally.”
SAP and Ākina made the announcement at a Social Enterprise and Technology Forum featuring addresses from Deputy Prime Minister, Hon Bill English, and Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Hon Jo Goodhew.