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Wow, here we are already mid-way through our second week and I’m not sure where time went. The first week of „arriving,“ getting settled in, and gathering input is over, now we’re  excited to move forward with our projects. – So who’s we, you may wonder?

We’re Benda Kaalu, or "The Boiled Beans," – read this if you want to know how we ended up with that name – a team of nine SAP colleagues from all over the world that came to Bangalore, India as part of the SAP Social Sabbatical program. I won’t go into detail about what that is – please click here if you haven’t heard about it yet – but would like to give you some more insight into our clients and respective projects.

   Team Benda Kaalu in front of Mysore Palace (photo: nace.sapundziev)

National Entrepreneurship Network (NEN):

NEN is a nonprofit organization established almost ten years ago in 2003 and its mission is to drive job creation and economic growth throughout India. How does it do that? By basically nurturing and educating a critical mass of entrepreneurs who then through their own businesses bring about growth and help create wealth.

Together with my teammates Michaela Degbeon (@MDegbeon), Julian Jimenez (@julianestebanj), and Barbara Trentini (@latrentini) I’m supporting NEN in two areas:

  • Definition of key metrics and performance measurements
    We’re looking at the data NEN already collects from faculty and educational institutions they work with and try to develop criteria for the social impact the organization has.
  • Information infrastructure design and social media strategy
    NEN does a successful job reaching out to students and prospective future entrepreneurs but they’re looking at ways to improve their Website and social media outreach to better communicate to the entrepreneurs who already have businesses running and could serve as mentors and trainers to the youngsters.

Read Julian's personal blog to find out more:


NovoJuris is a team of lawyers. They provide legal services and advice to startups and small and midsize enterprises in the technology space. Still being kind of a startup themselves, the NovoJuris folks are looking at the SAP team to help them overcome the “growth hurdle” working with them on challenges relating to processes, marketing, and scale. So basically addressing the “pain” of growing fast. (NovoJuris grew 100 % year-over-year for the last three years.) My colleagues Kathrin Hettel (@kathtl), Nace Sapundziev (@sapunce), and Frauke von Grebe have grabbed the bull by its horns and are tackling many issues at once, excited to lay the groundwork for future sustainable growth.

Read Nace's and Frauke's blogs to find out more:

SAP Social Sabbatical, a journey to success

IT startups in India: From IT workbench to global competing IT players

Sattva Media and Consulting:

As their name suggests, Sattva is in both the media and consulting fields, assisting social entrepreneurs and grass-root enterprises facilitate and implement social responsibility projects and initiatives. The way I understand it, their Consulting arm provides operations and strategy consulting to social enterprises in India, whereas their Media arm creates content to inform and engage a mainstream audience around matters of social development. “The Alternative,” their online publication, aims at shedding light on organizations, events, and individuals that make a difference in their respective communities. Erica Lailhacar (@EricaLailhacar) and Jody LeBlanc (@jodyanneleblanc) are helping them make better use of data they’ve been collecting about social enterprises in India. Sattva looks at managing and measuring their clients and the impact they have, so both of them are building a tool and database to enable data collection in a more automated fashion, and also to enable analysis and exploration of this data.  They are also helping The Alternative leverage open data initiatives in India to engage their audience in discussions around facts and statistics about social issues.

Read Erica's and Jody's blogs to find out more:

Find me if you can: connecting the dots of Social Enterprises in India

So Many Questions - The Potential of Open Data Initiatives in India

Personal blog: Jody's Adventures in India

So, as you can see, all three projects focus on matters of social entrepreneurship. And they all appreciate an outsider’s perspective on what and how they are doing. Hence the nine of us in India. And no-one could have been more of an outsider than us when we arrived last week: experts, yes, in our respective areas, but all IT-related, all from Western cultures, all used to working in a big global corporation. And for the most part pretty ignorant of how things work and how people tick in India.

Therefore, this is a tremendous opportunity for us even more as it is for all of our clients. We just help them get better at what they’re actually already doing well. But they help us to learn so much, experience so much, and grow so much that we see the world with different eyes. Oh what a difference a day week makes…

P.S.: Are you on Twitter and would like to join in on the fun? Follow #BendaKaalu and #sapcsr for photos and updates.