Scottish first minister announces major corporate partnership for Social Enterprise World Forum

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced a first-of-its-kind partnership between the Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) and SAP, Europe's largest software provider.

The three-year partnership will see SAP acting as the global technology partner for the World Forum. The organisations will work together to fulfil SEWF’s purpose to support the growth and development of social enterprises throughout the world.

This announcement came on the opening day of SEWF2018, its 10th anniversary event, held in Edinburgh, Scotland, September 12-14.

Central to the partnership, SAP will work closely with SEWF and Social Enterprise UK to develop a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) demonstrating the commercial and social impact corporates can attain by investing in social enterprises. Available in early 2019 through the openSAP Thought Leaders channel, the MOOC will also showcase examples of best practice systems and methods of measuring and reporting social impact.

In addition, SAP and the SEWF will explore ways to drive greater social impact by introducing more social enterprises into corporate supply chains.

“Technology plays a critical role in giving businesses visibility into their supply chains and identifying suppliers pursuing unsound, unethical and unsustainable practices. But it also presents a very strong opportunity to include more organisations who go above and beyond to structure their business to deliver positive social impact,” a press statement on the partnership said.

SAP employees will also support the partnership at an individual level through ‘Social Sabbaticals’. Each year SAP teams from around the world will volunteer their time and skills to social enterprises in the regions where the SEWF is held.

Every year SAP sends over 250 employees on Social Sabbatical assignments around the world. For SEWF, SAP employees from across Europe have spent two weeks immersed with three Scotland-based social enterprises including the Homeless World Cup Foundation, Penumbra, and the Social Enterprise Academy to solve critical strategic challenges they are facing.

Commenting on the partnership, Member of the Executive Board of SAP SE, Global Customer Operations, Adaire Fox-Martin, said: “Social enterprise is booming and there are powerful opportunities for commercial organisations and social enterprises to inspire each other and collaborate. Together, we can maximise positive social impact and address some of the world’s biggest problems. We are proud and privileged to support the SEWF and provide more social enterprises with access to the technology, talent and markets that they need to be successful.”

The statement from SEWF said that since it began in 2008, social enterprises around the world had transformed lives, revitalised communities and tackled big economic issues. “Social enterprise is now a truly global phenomenon. Yet much still remains to be done for the social enterprise sector to reach its full potential. The SEWF aims to fill this gap and selected SAP as its global technology partner to benefit from its innovative technology platforms, skilled talent, global network and access to markets.”

Gerry Higgins, Founder and Director of SEWF, said: “For the first time in our 10-year history, Social Enterprise World Forum will have a global partner, allowing us to add vital capacity to our work of building a global social enterprise movement. Working with SAP will extend our reach and impact as we collaborate with partners on every continent to reduce inequality.”

He added: “Our first decade was about building the foundations for a global social enterprise movement, there is now a demand for knowledge, information and leadership that will drive our strategy for the next decade.”

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