I’m back in Tokyo. I was in Mumbai for the SAP Social Sabbatical project last month.
I had a great time during the SAP CSR activities held outside of Japan.
SAP Social Sabbatical Program:
The SAP Social Sabbatical is a one month assignment for top employees who work in international, cross functional teams to solve business challenges for the entrepreneurial sector in emerging markets. The aim of this project is to strengthen their leadership competencies, cross industry sector know-how and intercultural sensitivity.
Participants get the unique opportunity to turn SAP’s vision of “helping the world run better and improving people’s lives” into their personal reality. The program is set-up to rapidly scale and has already sent 96 participants to 8 countries (South Africa, Colombia, Philippines, Turkey, India, China, Ethiopia, Brazil) in 2014 up to date.
Mumbai, India was the location for our assignment with 11 SAP colleagues from all across the globe.
We had four projects in the social enterprise sector in Mumbai and three SAP employees were assigned as a team to each project. Three projects are for social ventures which will deliver several activities to solve social issues such as education in low income communities. Our project is a social incubator which supports young social entrepreneurs and start-ups.
The client is UnLtd India who is an incubator as non profit organization. Their mission is to find, fund and support entrepreneurial individuals with ideas and passion to bring about long-lasting solutions to pressing problems in India. I like the idea of supporting entrepreneurs who are in the start-up stages, because incubation rate will be high and more and more entrepreneurs will start venturing into business. As a result, many people will benefit from these ventures and everything will be up and up from there.
Our mission is to define social impact metrics and operational metrics to grow the organization. Having the metrics is significant in order to raise funds and monitor performances.
I have been to India several times and there was no big surprise about Indian culture, foods, traffic jam, car horns and their incessant honking, as well as Indian time. I have learned a lot of things in this Social Sabbatical project.
Needs: – There are so many people who need support in education, livelihoods and women work. Needs are different from Japan.
Social Enterprise: – This was the first time I worked with an organization in the Social Enterprise. I did not know about the word “Social Enterprise” and learned how the social enterprise sector works with funders, incubators, ventures and beneficiaries.
Incubation: The role for incubation is quite important in scaling the social enterprise sector.
Diversity: – Understanding different cultures and different thought processes are important in international business.
Scale: – Non of super star entrepreneur can make good social impact alone. They need buddies to start a venture and partners to scale their business.
Teamwork: – Brainstorming in the team was good experience. I miss teamwork tasks.
Personal development: – We had a chance to learn about personal development for entrepreneurs from peer incubators. They select 2 weak points and 1 strong point and make a plan for improving those.I like the idea that they select 1 strong point and not only for improving weak points. We found that entrepreneurs have unique characters and burning passions. I felt those drive their venture business.
My weak points: – I was lucky that our team has 2 native English speakers. They shared me the meeting memos and I could catch up by reading those memos. They also covered most of final documents and I covered system and social metrics definitions. I should improve my English both speaking and writing. That is why I wrote this last blog series in English.