Skip to content

Over R15 Million Awarded To 17 Outstanding South African Social Innovators

  • NEWSWIRE
  • 4 min read

At the 13th annual SAB Foundation Social Innovation and 8th annual Disability Empowerment Awards held in Johannesburg, Luvuyo Sume and Riaan Knight, founders of Prosthetic Engineering Technologies, clinched the top honour in the Disability Empowerment category. Bevlen Sudhu took home the first place in the Social Innovation category with his innovative solution, Re-Purpose. Each of the winning innovators were awarded R1.3 million in grant funding.

Luvuyo and Riaan’s ground breaking innovation is a high-quality silicone prosthetic liner for amputees. This liner acts as a shock absorber while walking and, whether worn above or below the knee, ensures a comfortable fit while aiding users in maintaining limb hygiene.

Bevlen’s sustainable solution offers a waste management approach that aids schools, residents, businesses, buy-back centres, and communities to segregate recyclable waste, which can then be transformed into market-ready products.

During the awards ceremony, the SAB Foundation awarded more than R15 million to 17 remarkable entrepreneurs. These awards stand as a testament to the Foundation’s prestigious flagship Social Innovation Awards programme and its unwavering commitment to fostering entrepreneurial development in South Africa.

“The Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards programme is focused on supporting businesses that have developed products, services, business models and processes which directly address social challenges, while simultaneously creating a sustainable business model,” says Bridgit Evans, SAB Foundation Executive Director. “The awards comprise of grant funding, alongside business development support and tailored mentoring to assist with venture growth.”

“As with every year, we are impressed by the exceptionally high calibre of social innovators that have applied,” she continues. “It is heartening to see these deserving entrepreneurs provide solutions for the challenges affecting communities across our country with their innovative approaches.”

In his keynote address, Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Science, and Innovation, Buti Manamela stated, “Both government and the private sector are deeply committed to working with communities to drive essential and urgently needed change. We are excited about the prospect of various initiatives that encourage and empower individuals to take the lead in developing social innovation.”

SAB’s Corporate Affairs Vice President, Zoleka Lisa adds: “SAB is committed to supporting entrepreneurs through various programmes across our value chain, with a mission of accelerating economic growth and ensuring that businesses become more sustainable for consumers, customers, and communities. This is a special moment for all entrepreneurs who have been able to endure through the challenges they have encountered to successfully stimulate local socio-economic activities in the areas they operate.”

This year the entries boast an impressive showcase of innovative solutions to address social issues across many industries.

Christiaan Van Den Berg and Marius Erasmus are founders of Job-Abled, a recruitment platform for persons with a disability. They were awarded second place in the Disability Empowerment category, receiving R950 000 in prize money. Their innovative solution involves partnerships with corporates and educational institutions that provide job shadowing opportunities and community project involvement for people with disabilities.

Giancarlo Beukes and Gokul Nair, founders of Easy Squeezy, were awarded second place in the Social Innovation category and R950 000 in funding. They have developed a novel and reusable asthma pump sleeve attachment for people with limited strength in their arms, such as children and the elderly. Three key features include a dual mechanism, a resettable dosage counter and animated characters to combat the stigma of children carrying and using their inhalers.

Luvo Gugwana, founder of Green Arch Aquaponics Micro-Franchise, walked away with third place in this category and was awarded R850 000 in grant funding. His sustainable solution assists with subsidised aquaponics franchising in low income communities. This unique two-pronged model approach acts as an integral stance for the adoption of sustainable agriculture.

“Over the past 13 years, we have invested over R68 million in funding and business development support, to assist 174 social innovators in growing their businesses,” Evans continues. “These entrepreneurs have created 1 577 new jobs and 2 485 people have been collectively employed, which has indirectly impacted 9 940 livelihoods.”

To learn more about the Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards visit 

https://sabfoundation.co.za/social-innovation-awards