The African chapter of the SAP Startup Focus programme held yesterday was a chance for the company to demonstrate its support for African entrepreneurs, as well as showcase the diverse capabilities of the SAP HANA platform. 
SAP HANA is a next-generation database platform that delivers value by delivering real-time insight into businesses.
From 50 start-up companies across Africa, eight finalists were chosen to pitch their ideas as how to best leverage the real-time capabilities of SAP HANA.
The judging panel included Kaustav Mitra, VP: global programme lead at SAP Startup Focus Programme, who is based in Palo Alto, California, as well as several other local senior SAP specialists.
The SAP Startup Focus programme is a global effort aimed at driving adoption of the SAP HANA platform outside the traditional SAP ecosystem. The overall goal of the programme is to provide start-ups with all the support needed to port or build their applications to SAP HANA.
Fifty responses were forthcoming from across the sub-continent and applications were canvassed in November 2012. A number of strict criteria were then used to whittle the number down to the eight finalists. Applicants had to illustrate a market for their solution, produce a business case and show how SAP HANA could support their submission.
On his first visit to South Africa, Mitra was both excited and impressed by the innovation he witnessed at the African forum.
“HANA is our gateway to the start-up community and the high quality here compares with any I have encountered at other forums around the world.”
Three winners were announced at yesterday’s event:
* The most innovative idea award went to Chappal Waddi from Nigeria;
* The best mobile solution went to Kamoeba from South Africa; and
* The judges’ favourite award went to another South African start-up, Vertigro Asset Management.
The other finalists included Navomax (South Africa), Axis Solutions (Zimbabwe), GreenBuk Technologies (Nigeria), EPI-USE Analytics (South Africa), Shiluba-tsaka Productive (South Africa) and Expert Solutions (South Africa).