The SAB Foundation is calling on local innovators and social entrepreneurs solving social problems facing disadvantaged South Africans to apply for its seventh annual Social Innovation and second annual Disability Empowerment Awards.
Online applications for the Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards is open 03 – midday 25 May 2017 (12h00). Applications can be completed by visiting the Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards section and following the relevant instructions.
The SAB Foundation’s Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards seek to reward the best ideas that enhance the lives of disadvantaged South Africans, with a focus on women, youth, people with disabilities and those living in rural areas. The awards consist of two categories, each with its own particular focus.
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. The Disability Empowerment Awards seeks and awards social enterprises which have come up with innovative solutions which improve access to the economy and/or solutions for disabled people. People with disabilities are some of the most marginalised members of our society with an estimated 70% unemployment rate. The SAB Foundation Disability Empowerment Awards was added as a special award category in 2016.
“We define social innovation as innovation that demonstrates both a sustainable business model and a measurable social impact. In the past seven years of the Social Innovation Awards, we have been impressed with the quality and calibre of ideas and businesses that we have been presented with, over many fields and industries, including health, education, environment, community cohesion and more. We hope to see many more applicants entering this year, so we can help take their ideas to the next level,” commented Bridgit Evans, Director of the SAB Foundation.
Once the online applications have closed, a panel of judges will assess the applications to evaluate whether they offer innovative solutions that are original, impactful, viable and applicable to the lives of disadvantaged South Africans.
A shortlist of up to 25 of the best applicants will then be selected and will be invited to attend a two-day workshop in September 2017. At the end of the workshop, applicants will present their innovation solutions and up-scaling plans to the judges. Based on these presentations, the judges will select the final winners who will then be announced at a gala awards ceremony in Sandton on 19 October 2017.
The awards range from R150 000 – R1.2 million. On the evening, additional development prizes may be awarded at the judges’ discretion. In addition to the prize money, the winners will also be assessed on a case-by-case basis and placed in a tailored programme with a specially selected business mentor as well as a technical expert. The programme is flexible and is adjusted to the needs of each winner, as mutually agreed upon by both the winner and their mentor.
The SAB Foundation Social Innovation was launched in 2011 as part of the SAB Foundation’s primary focus to ignite a culture of entrepreneurship in South Africa. Last year an additional element, the Disability Empowerment Awards were added.
To date, the programme has invested in 90 entrepreneurs and their innovations with a total investment of over R30 million. This group has seen a turnover increase of 245% and job growth of 167. Previous award-winning innovations have improved efficiency and affordability in housing, healthcare, small-holder farming techniques, education, medical diagnostics, waste disposal, township security, fire prevention and support for people with disabilities. Past winners have found that the grant capital and mentorship has had a dramatic impact in their businesses.
“The SAB Foundation gave us seed capital to invest in machinery and train staff in the pilot and prototyping phase of the innovation. The funding helped us establish operations in buying quality machinery that we are still using to this day. Our operations grew, we moved from a 50sqm factory to a 200sqm factory, and we currently export product lines to countries such as Austria, UK and Turkey,” said past winner, Thato Kgatlhanye, from Recycle Schoolbags.
To go to the portal directly and apply, click here.