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SAB Foundation Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards finalists announced

Oct 2, 2017
SAB Foundation Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards finalists announced

The SAB Foundation, in partnership with TIA (The Technology Innovation Agency) has selected the finalists in its annual Social Innovation Awards and Disability Empowerment Awards 2017 competitions. The winners for both will be announced at an official awards ceremony on Monday, 23 October 2017.

A total of 18 Social Innovation and six Disability Empowerment Awards finalists have been selected.

The Social Innovation Awards

The 18 Social Innovation finalist innovations encompass the Health, Education, Energy, Water and Sanitation and Livelihoods and Sustainable Agriculture sectors, all of which are best suited to helping improve the lives of the SAB Foundation’s primary beneficiaries, women, youth, people living with disabilities and people living in rural areas, all of whom are from low-income backgrounds.

In addition to servicing the SAB Foundation’s beneficiaries, innovations need to demonstrate their ability to be commercial and scalable. This growth is supported by the SAB Foundation which provides the best innovations with a combination of financial investment and business support and mentorship.

The overall Social Innovation winner receives R1.3-million, while 2nd and 3rd place winners will receive R750 000 and R500 000 respectively.  Several developmental awards of between R150 000 and R400 000 are presented to deserving innovations.  To date 105 entrepreneurs have benefitted from the awards, which has resulted in 167% increase in jobs and a 245% increase in turn-over.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the creativity and quality of the entries this year and it was quite a task to narrow down the nominees to 18. Each of the finalists has developed practical solutions to real challenges being faced by communities across South Africa,” says Bridgit Evans, SAB Foundation Director.

The partnership between the SAB Foundation and the TIA, initiated in 2016, has also brought significant in-kind technical assistance in the form of expert man hours, design and access to prototyping equipment, necessary for innovations shortlisted in the Social Innovation Awards 2017 to achieve market readiness.

“The Technology Innovation Agency has shown great foresight and leadership in recognising the potential our innovators hold for those who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to access products and services that bring improvement to their lives,” says Evans.

The Disability Empowerment Awards

In recognition of the increase in the number of innovations providing solutions for people with disabilities and as a means of recognising the critical work carried out in this under-served sector, the SAB Foundation established the Disability Empowerment Awards last year, which carries additional total prize money of over R3-million. In judging this award, the innovation’s business potential, innovation, life change potential, job creation and scalability was reviewed. 

“For the past seven years, the SAB Foundation has focused on igniting a culture of social innovation in South Africa.  This focus is underpinned by the belief that innovation is required to shift South Africa’s many social challenges and that only way to scale this innovation is through committed entrepreneurs and viable business models,” says SAB Foundation Director, Bridgit Evans.   

The number of applications received this year is an indication that the programme has made a significant contribution to encouraging innovation across South Africa over the past seven years.

The SAB Foundation has invested a total of R31-million in local social innovations since 2011.