SAP App Development Program Reaches Out to Young Refugees

SAP is working to encourage young underprivileged youth to combine their love of technology and soccer through a team-based app development contest.

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The SAP Corporate Social Responsibility team and SAP partner Streetfootballworld are bringing the KickApp Cup app development marathon to six SAP Labs locations around the world.

In each location, SAP colleagues from the products and innovation organization work together with young football (or soccer, as it is known in the United States) players in small teams to develop apps designed to make the work of local Streetfootballworld partners easier in their sport's projects and social engagements.

"This hackathon served refugees from 12 countries that have been, and in some cases still are being, devastated by conflict and instability," Kellie Drenner, senior manager of strategic partnerships at SAP, told eWEEK. "Each participant has his or her own unique story, and all have different backgrounds. This event was able to bridge that divide, to bring the participants together by focusing on the two things they all share in common: a love for soccer and a passion for technology."

Drenner explained there is a comprehensive judging process that decides the winner of the hackathon, where each team has 8 minutes to present its final application.

After their presentation, the panel of judges has 3 minutes for Q&A. The judges score each application according to the application's technical concept—whether the solution is implementable and consists of a combination of modern technologies and all elements of the technical concept are realized in main aspects; the application's user experience; if the application is a creative idea and it is surprising out of the box; and whether the application has social impact.

The conversation among the jury is very comprehensive, with the jury members comparing and contrasting all application criteria to narrow down to the winning application, Drenner said.

"While small in terms of the number of people this event impacted, the impact it did have is significant," she explained. "It brought refugees with diverse backgrounds together in an environment that fostered mutual understanding and respect. It let them build friendships, many of which will likely extend beyond the three-day event. It also provided them with the opportunity to work with SAP developers, affording them the chance to gain hands-on experience and real-world, applicable insight and knowledge, all of which will doubtlessly be useful in their career pursuits."

Drenner explained that many of the participants of the event occurring in the United States arrived in the U.S. unable to speak English and were unfamiliar with local customs.

"One can imagine the struggle this presents, in education, in making friends, in daily living," she said. "Far from just teaching and exposing participants to technology, it also revealed to participants that there are others going through a similar experience, and it exposed them to valuable resources and a community on which they can now rely for support."