SAP incubation program for women founders SAP.iO to support 200 startups
SAP startup incubation program will promote and support women and minority founders. (Photo: Agency)

German enterprise software maker has launched a dedicated global incubation program to promote and support women and minority founders.

Under the SAP.iO programe, the company has committed up to 40 percent of the investable capital in its SAP.iO Fund and scale its SAP.iO Foundries program with focus on inclusive entrepreneurship. According to company officials, SAP goal is to help at least 200 startups around the world within the next five years.

“SAP is committed to helping underrepresented entrepreneurs build successful startups and to leveling the playing field for women and minority founders in the startup billkonecosystem,” said Deepak Krishnamurthy, executive vice president and chief strategy officer, SAP SE.

According to PitchBook Data Inc, in 2017, only 2.2 percent of venture capital went to women-only founded startups. In that year, it also found that less than 13 percent of venture capital went to U.S. startups having at least one female founder. Similarly, women do not fare well in Europe either, with only 2 percent of venture capital going to women-only funded startups and only 7 percent of venture capital going to startups with at least one female founder, according to data from Atomico Investment Holdings Limited.

Similarly, women do not fare well in Europe either, with only 2 percent of venture capital going to women-only funded startups and only 7 percent of venture capital going to startups with at least one female founder, according to data from Atomico Investment Holdings Limited.

Black and Latinx entrepreneurs in the United States face similar and often even greater challenges. SAP said that it sees a significant business opportunity in supporting these entrepreneurs, who face major barriers when raising capital despite showing strong performance and long-term viability.

The SAP.iO Fund was launched in March 2017 as a $35 million fund, and to date has invested directly in more than 15 startups. SAP.iO Foundries, a zero-equity acceleration program with a special focus on inclusive entrepreneurship, has accelerated nearly 100 early-stage software startups, more than 30 percent of which are founded or led by women or other minority entrepreneurs.

SAP.iO is opened to startups globally, the initiative provides chosen startups with access to curated mentorship, exposure to SAP technology, support for integration with SAP applications as well as opportunities to meet and collaborate with SAP customers.

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