Applications for the 12th annual SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards and 7th annual Disability Empowerment Awards are open for entry. Entrepreneurs and innovators who have developed products and services that assist the country’s most vulnerable communities including women, youth, people living with disabilities and those living in rural areas are strongly encouraged to apply.
Prizes range from R200 000 to R1.3 million and must be used as an investment towards improving and commercialising the innovation or business. In addition, each award winner also qualifies to receive valuable business coaching, mentorship and technical support.
The Social Innovation Awards are aimed at innovators, social entrepreneurs, institutions and social enterprises with prototypes or early-stage businesses that can solve social problems. These products, services, business models and processes should directly address the challenges faced by low-income women, youth, people living with disabilities, or people living in rural areas.
The Disability Empowerment Awards award social enterprises that have come up with innovative solutions that improve access to the economy and/ or solutions for people living with disabilities, while generating enough revenue to become sustainable over time. People living with disabilities in South Africa face many social and economic barriers and the current unemployment rate in this sector stands at over 70%.
Online applications open at midday on 17 February 2022 andclose at midday on 25 March 2022. Only applications submitted on the SAB Foundation web portal will be accepted. Apply now: https://sabfoundation.co.za
“We are excited to open the applications for 2022 and look forward to meeting our social disruptors this year,” says Itumeleng Dhlamini, Social Innovation Specialist at the SAB Foundation. “Each year we receive many quality applications from inspiring individuals, and we are certain that this year will be no different.”
“These awards give us the opportunity to support so many talented social innovators who drive change and improve the lives of people in their communities and beyond,” says Dhlamini.
“The types of social innovations that were awarded at our awards event in 2021 included a sophisticated navigation app which maps rural households and provides households and spaza shops with a delivery service in underserved rural areas,” continues Dhlamini. “Another was an online employment platform that provides customers with motorbike drivers and motorbikes and provides free training for unemployed youth.”
“In the Disability Empowerment Awards category we saw equally innovative solutions such as a device that allows people with reduced mobility to contribute to the propulsion of their wheelchair to navigate stairs, as well as low tech solution that allows people with visual impairment to use smart devices as a hands free magnifier,” she explains.
Through this programme, the SAB Foundation has invested over R58 million in grant funding and business support to support 125 social innovators. This has enabled these businesses to increase their turnover by 106%, from R111 million at inception to R231 million as at 2020. These entrepreneurs have created 962 new jobs since winning an award and collectively employ 1 751 people.
“Job creation is a key priority at the SAB Foundation, because we know that each new job means more money for families, communities and the economy,” concludes Dhlamini. “We call on all South African social innovators to apply so that we can all build a better South Africa.“
Applications are open to all South African citizens of 18 years or older with evidence that prior to applying, they have spent time and money developing the innovation. Early submissions are strongly encouraged. Apply now: https://sabfoundation.co.za/social-innovation-awards