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Getting traction for exciting new ideas can be a challenge for even the most brilliant and tenacious technology developers. But as I’ve written before, small and mid-size businesses are the lifeblood of the economy in many ways. This is why SAP Africa is inviting start-up companies interested in developing solutions on top of SAP HANA to participate in its first-ever African Startup Forum. Slated for launch on January 30, 2013, the forum is part of SAP’s global strategy to empower start-ups and entrepreneurs in growing their businesses. Closing date for registrations is December 12 and participants can enter here. Here are the details:

The SAP HANA Platform: SAP HANA is SAP’s high-performance in-memory database and computing platform, a completely re-imagined platform for real-time business. It has already begun transforming business by streamlining transactions, analytics, planning, predictive, sentiment data processing on a single in-memory database so business can operate in real-time.

Who is Eligible to Participate: Small companies with at least one paying customer and/or existing product on the market. The focus needs to be on a product that solves one of the biggest problems companies have today: quickly assembling massive amounts of all kinds of data—structured and unstructured—into real-time insights that support informed decisions across the organization. Better information means companies can get closer to customers with the right products and services faster, and beat the competition.

What Participants Get: HANA test and development licenses, a development toolkit, and ongoing technical support from SAP worth over 550,000 RAND at no charge until the business runs live on SAP HANA, up to one year.

How Selection Works: SAP selects and invites start-ups to join a development accelerator (DA) where they build a Proof of Concept and ultimately, a solution with business value.

Once Development is Underway: Participants will receive ongoing architecture reviews, technical support, and consulting.

When Solutions are Complete: SAP will help get the word out about the best solutions through promotional materials.

The Fine Print – More Support: Participants in the program will also have access to SAP’s considerable market reach and other funding sources. For example, they’ll be able to meet with the folks at SAP Ventures to talk about funding opportunities out of the US $155 million start-up SAP Ventures Fund. They’ll also have the chance to attend and present at major SAP international events.

There’s a lot written about SAP HANA and this is one more reason for the developer community to get involved at the ground floor. Bring your best ideas for a better future for all.

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