R1.3-MILLION FIRST PLACE PRIZE FOR BEST LOCAL SOCIAL INNOVATION – FINALISTS ANNOUNCED

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Johannesburg. 09 September 2019. The SAB Foundation has selected 17 finalists in its 9th annual Social Innovation Awards 2019 and 3 finalists in its 4th annual Disability Empowerment Awards. The final winners will be announced at an official awards ceremony on Wednesday, 09 October 2019.

Grants will also be awarded to other deserving innovation finalists. The finalists were selected from over 300 entries this year and SAB Foundation Innovation Specialist, Ntandokazi Nodada says that since the programme was initiated 9 years ago the quality of innovations has been on the rise. “We are seeing some incredibly talented South Africans, from all walks of life, produce socially informed and transformative products and services that are truly going to help make a change in the lives of those who need it the most, ” says Nodada. Nodada says that the finalists tackle issues such as environmental sustainability, technology accessibility and disability inclusion.

Other than their potential to create positive societal change, the finalist’s innovations were selected according to whether the independent panel of judges assessments showed they were scalable and could be commercialised as well their potential to create job opportunities. The SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards and Disability Empowerment Awards, were established as a means of supporting the growth and development of entrepreneurship in South Africa with a specific focus on servicing the needs of low-income women, the youth, people with disabilities and people living in rural areas.

“The SAB Foundation hopes to encourage individuals to empower themselves as entrepreneurs and in the process assist others with incredible but often simple resources which change the way our lives work,” says Nodada. Since its launch, the SAB Foundation has invested in over 160 social innovations through a financial commitment of more than R67 million.

The 2019 SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards finalists are:

SOCIAL INNOVATION FINALISTS

KWAZULU NATAL 

As part of the Denis Hurley Centre, Stuart Talbotestablished Street Booksellers, a programme that specialises in empowering unemployed and homeless men and women to sell second-hand books around Durban.

WESTERN CAPE 

Jacques Sibomana established Kuba, software that allows small business owners to build a digital administrative track record and supplies them with supportive services that simplifies their trade with large corporate companies in and around Cape Town.

Nicolette Swartz, established Spoon Moneywith the idea of a multi-sided platform, which facilitates capital deployment to underserved communities who struggle to access the formal sector.

Kyle Ueckermann established Vollar, a digital currency incentive to uplift low income and informal settlements. Vollar provides disadvantaged individuals with a means to access essential products and services by earning Vollar incentives for bettering themselves or their communities.

Chad Robertson and his business partner, Nkazimlo Miti developed Regenize, a free, inclusive, and rewarding service that offers individuals rewards in form of virtual currency based on the weight of their recyclable materials.

Melisa Clayton Allardice established NuNanny, an online website that allows parents to connect, book, and pay for experienced nannies for babysitting and all kinds of childcare.

GAUTENG

Toli Altounis developed Put It Out - Mini Fire Extinguisher, a cost effective, non-toxic easy to use fire extinguisher.

Lungile Maile developed the NuMaths Kids App, a mathematics mobile application with 120 games that is designed to entertain and educate children between four and seven years old.

Jabulani Dlamini established Recycled Glass Turned Countertops, a business that specialises in collecting, weighing, and paying waste pickers for their recycled glass and manufactures it into countertops, floor and wall tiles, and sculptures.

Kutlwano Ngwarati established Boolyx Edu-Tech, an online platform for university students to access more affordable textbooks and academic publications. This platform allows students unlimited access to over 400,000 textbooks for a monthly subscription.

Ntombikayise Banda developed Robot Learn, a low-cost robotic platform designed to teach learners in their home language programming and engineering skills such as mechanics and electronics.

Grace Gichanga established Pro Se, a chatbot that provides practical and relevant legal information via chat platforms, such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Information is available 24 hours a day and is provided though text, video, audio, and images.

EASTERN CAPE 

Luleka Mkuzo designed the Rural Technology Park, a mobile technology park equipped with multiple laptops to give learners and teachers of rural communities’ access to technology, the internet, and basic computer skills.  

Professor Jean Greylingand his student, Byron Batteson, started working on the TANKS Coding App, a free mobile application that makes use of puzzles and image recognition to introduce learners to coding without the use of a computer. Byron first produced it for his BSc Computer Science Honours project at Nelson Mandela University.

FREE STATE 

In 2016, Kekeletso Tsiloane successfully prototyped the PlastiBrick, an invention that uses recycled plastic to manufacture stock and maxi bricks that are strong, durable, fire retardant, and environmentally friendly.

NORTH WEST

Memphis Kaotsanefrom Taung, North West, developed Moonshine Reflective Paintdesigned to help reduce night-time collisions between vehicles and stray animals, livestock and cyclists when a car’s headlights reflect off it.

Sello Malingadeveloped the Spinetector Safety Costume, a safety suit that is used to minimise the impact of injuries sustained by mineworkers, when their upper bodies are hit by heavy machinery or rocks.

 DISABILITY EMPOWERMENT AWARDS FINALISTS

WESTERN CAPE 

Dr Daemon McClunan designed the OptiShunt, an implantable device that prevents blindness in glaucoma patients by draining excess fluid out of the eye while equalising pressure between the eye and the optic nerve.

GAUTENG

Xelda Rohrbeckwas first introduced to the ShowerBath, a combination of a shower and bathtub to enable easy bathing of individuals with profound intellectual and physical disabilities, who are unable to bath themselves and depend on caregivers. Lucy Slaviero designed the ShowerBath, when she saw how caregivers struggled to bath particularly the elderly, with profound intellectual disabilities and limited mobility.

MPUMALANGA

Moleseng Mohlolo acted on the need for affordable and accessible chairs for disabled children. He custom made assortment of strong, low cost Specialised Seating for Disabled Children, which are environmentally friendly as they are made from cardboard boxes, paper and glue made out of flour and water.

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Background

Founded in 2010, the SAB Foundationprovides funding for small, medium and micro-sized enterprises in order to contribute to the economic and social empowerment of historically disadvantaged persons through entrepreneurship development. The SAB Foundation’s primary beneficiaries are women, youth, people living with disabilities and people living in rural areas, from low-income backgrounds. More than R67-million has been paid in support of 163 social innovation and disability businesses. 

 For the latest SAB Foundation news, follow us on:

www.sabfoundation.co.za

Twitter: @sabfoundationsa

Facebook: @sabfoundationsa

#IDEAS4Change

#SABFSIA 

The ripple effect of empowering women

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Gender equality is one of the United Nation’s (UN) sustainable development goals which they claim is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful and prosperous world. As well as the obvious social benefits, there are also significant economic benefits to the advancement of women’s equality, with McKinsey estimating that it could add $12 trillion to global economic growth by 2025. However, while this number might seem big, it pales in comparison to the true economic impact gender equality stands to achieve. 

“Investing in women causes a ripple effect, the benefits of which can be felt in their families, communities, countries and even the world. This is because women typically re-invest majority of their earnings, spending up to 90% on their families and communities, according to the UN,” says Bridgit Evans, SAB Foundation Director. 

This is why the UN has stressed that women’s economic participation actually speeds up development and has a significant impact on the improvement of health, wellbeing, education and the alleviation of poverty for all. 

“Considering the potential women have to create change it is surprising that women in South Africa are still more likely to be unemployed, earn an average of 28% less than men, according to the Global Wage Report, and only make up about 18% of the country’s business owners,” says Evans.

The International Finance Corporation claims that small, medium and micro-sized businesses that are run by women are better at reinvesting profits, directing money towards their families’ health and education, as well as strengthening their local communities. However, female entrepreneurs face a number of hurdles such as limited access to financing, with Fortune finding that they only get about 3% of all venture capital funding. 

“Investing in women means investing in the betterment of the whole world, which is why we need to focus on helping female entrepreneurs. At the SAB Foundation, we prioritise the support of female owned businesses and, out of the 2 637 entrepreneurs we have supported so far, 64% are women. This investment isn’t only monetary and we also offer business training and mentorship aimed at giving them the best possible chance of creating sustainable, profitable enterprises,” says Evans.

The SAB Foundation offers a number of programmes aimed at promoting entrepreneurship in South Africa and their flagship Tholoana Enterprise Programme is now open for applications.

“So far, through the programme, we have invested over R121 million in promising South African entrepreneurs and, based on the compound effect we have witnessed from our investment in female entrepreneurs, we strongly encourage women to apply,” say Evans.

One such entrepreneur is Rushana Hartnick, the founder and director of Little Mermaids Swim School. Prior to starting her business, Rushana was a swimming instructor at a suburban school in Cape Town but her dream was to teach children in her area to swim. She now services 500 swimmers a week at her state-of-the-art swimming centre in Mitchells Plain, Cape Town.

Mitchells Plain is synonymous with crime and gangsterism which is why Rushana is working hard to extend the benefits of her swim school into the wider area. This includes only employing locals and, so far, she has created jobs for eight of her community members. 

Alex Msitshana, another Tholoana Enterprise Programme participant, is the founder and Managing Director of the Deaf Empowerment Firm (DEF), based in Soweto. When Alex became deaf, she was well qualified and had over ten years of work experience. Despite this, she struggled to find employment. This led her to question what was happening to young people with hearing impairments in her community, who didn’t have the benefit of experience or qualifications. 

As a result, she founded DEF, an organisation that provides skills development programmes and employment opportunities to the deaf, with the aim of helping them to become active participants in the economy. So far, she has assisted over 200 candidates provide a recruitment service as well as offering training, including an IT programme aimed at developing coders and an enterprise development programme, aimed at helping people start their own small businesses.

“Success stories like those of Alex and Rushana demonstrate the capacity for female entrepreneurs to create waves of change that reverberate into their wider environments. We’re looking forward to seeing the difference of this year’s intake of Tholoana Enterprise Programme Participants will make in their communities,” concludes Evans.

Visit www.sabfoundation.co.za/tholoana-enterprise-programme to find out more about the programme and how you can apply. 

 

Let’s grow the South African economy – One SME at a time

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The SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise Programme is looking for entrepreneurs who are passionate and dedicated to growing the economy and creating jobs

Can you imagine your business growing by 144% annually and creating nine new jobs for your community? SiyaBuddy Recycling is a business on the SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise Programme who is doing just that.

South Africa is full of young, inspired, and passionate entrepreneurs who are working tirelessly to change the path South Africa is on. The SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise Programme is looking for businesses who have the potential for growth and the desire to create jobs. Applications for the SAB Foundation Tholoana Programme open on 1 August 2019.

The programme invests in entrepreneurs, particularly women, youth, people in rural areas and persons with disabilities. The structured 18-month programme offers entrepreneurs skilled mentorship, business development tools and workshops, powerful peer networks, access to finance, and support throughout their time on the programme.

The SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise Programme yields remarkable results and businesses on the programme have an average annual growth rate of 33%. Across the Tholoana intakes, participants have achieved a 22% annual growth in jobs, which alleviates one of the triple threats we face in South Africa.

Past and present participants continue to achieve incredible things in their businesses. Wayne Mansfield of Fruitfield Farm recently won the Agricultural Excellence Award from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Sipamandla Manqele of Local Village and Ndlovu Nomuntu of SiyaBuddy Recycling are among the Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans.

Director of the SAB Foundation, Bridgit Evans says: “We want to make a lasting impact and we want these entrepreneurs to succeed. What sets this programme apart from others is that the entrepreneurs are not just another number – they are individuals and there is a personal touch throughout the programme. We value their personal and professional wellbeing.”

To find out more about the SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise Programme visit: https://sabfoundation.co.za/tholoana-enterprise-programme.

The mindset for business success

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In South Africa, small businesses are a driving force for economic growth and job creation. However, start-up failure rates are still very high with 75% of small businesses closing within their first five years. To help entrepreneurs beat the odds, the SAB Foundation provides seed funding and business support to equip them with the tools they need to succeed. However, the foundation also notes that there are a few key character traits shared by successful business owners and cautions budding entrepreneurs to ensure that they have the right mindset for success. 

“Starting a business and nurturing it to a point of profitability can be challenging and having the right attitude is essential to ensure you weather setbacks and come out on top”, says Bridgit Evans, SAB Foundation Director.  

Evans lists six key character traits shared by most successful business leaders.

Passion 

There are a number of motivations for starting a business but entrepreneurs who are following their passion are often much more likely to succeed than those pursuing wealth or prestige. Passion requires having faith in their product or service and being enthusiastic about their chosen field. Loving what they do and believing in the value of their business ensures that they can confidently market their product and gives them credibility as an ambassador of their brand. Passion also gives rise to devotion, helping them nurture and grow their business despite setbacks or challenges. 

Drive and determination 

Bringing a business to a point of profitability requires a lot of hard work and, along the way, entrepreneurs will be faced with a number of challenges. Drive and determination is important to ensure they remain motivated and keep working towards success. Entrepreneurs have a number of responsibilities including managing staff, overseeing finances, driving sales and marketing their products or services. Challenges will be faced in most, if not all, of these areas and business owners are tasked with finding workable solutions. The ones that come out on top are the ones that keep striving to improve their operations and be the best. 

Ingenuity 

Ingenuity is at the core of many successful businesses, with entrepreneurial souls developing innovative products or services that they believe will bring something new to the market and beat off competitors. However, the need for ingenuity doesn’t stop there as great entrepreneurs continually need to find clever and unique ways of getting recognised.  Marketplaces are dynamic as consumer needs change and competitors look to get ahead. Entrepreneurs should never allow themselves to become complacent. The longevity of an organisation is often dependent upon its ability to continuously innovate, finding ways to improve or diversify their offering. 

Adaptable and open minded

The path to success is rarely straight and often entrepreneurs are required to rethink their strategy, change their approach or even start over entirely. Stubbornly continuing along the same path when things aren’t working out is a recipe for failure. Being successful requires the capacity to acknowledge mistakes and weaknesses and adjust accordingly. This means being open to criticism and even proactively seeking it out so that you can address issues and keep your business running smoothly. 

The ability to win people over 

Businesses don’t prosper in isolation and a vital aspect of success is the capacity to win people over. This might include convincing the right employees to work for them, securing funding from investors, getting people to buy their products and winning customer loyalty. Entrepreneurs might want to go one step further and seek recognition as an expert in their field. This requires being able to speak with authority about your industry and provide unique and valuable insights. Therefore, it is important for entrepreneurs to take an interest in their industries and continuously develop their knowledge about issues affecting their wider operating environments. 

Knowing when to step back and breathe

Start-up founders are required to play multiple roles.  They have taken great personal risk to achieve success in their businesses and this comes with high pressure and stress.  Self-care is therefore critically important as excessive and prolonged stress can lead to burnout.  Entrepreneurs need to give themselves permission to switch off in order to recharge, regain perspective and re motivate themselves.  

“Everyone has their own way of switching off, whether it’s through sport, being in nature, hobbies or spending time with friends and family.  It’s important to find an outlet that works for you and creating time in your schedule that allows you to unwind. Being good to yourself will help your business in the long run,” says Evans.  

Having a mentor can also help entrepreneurs who feel anxious or out of their depth, which is why the SAB Foundation pairs beneficiaries with mentors who can provide them with guidance and support, not just from a business perspective, but also from a personal and leadership point of view.

Youth challenge notions of business success

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By 2025, millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce and their growing influence on business is rapidly redefining our notion of success. Unlike Baby Boomers, whose aspirations centred around working their way up the corporate ladder, millennials gravitate towards entrepreneurship and the flexibility, innovation, creativity and purpose associated with start-up businesses. This is why they’re the most entrepreneurial generation yet, with 66% aspiring to one day start a business of their own, according to a study by Bentley University. 

“As products of the digital age, millennials have grown up with a culture of connectedness, where news travels fast and normal people have a platform from which to address potentially large audiences. Brand accountability is more important than ever and millennial consumers increasingly choose brands based on their corporate ethics and social or environmental impact,” explains Bridgit Evans, SAB Foundation Director. 

Deloitte’s 2018 Millennial Survey found that 80% believe that businesses’ success should be measured in terms of their impact on society and the environment, rather than just financial performance. And, as a result, millennials are increasingly starting businesses that strive for social change as well as profits. 

According to Evans, this shift in business priorities could have the most significant impact in places like South Africa, where social issues like inequality, poor education, healthcare access and environmental concerns have the most devastating consequences. 

“A culture of social entrepreneurship is essential to address critical social problems in South Africa and it is heartening to see the nation’s youth responding to the need for more conscious businesses. Unemployment is highest amongst the youth, which is why the SAB Foundation focusses on providing business support and funding to their enterprises. By promoting these businesses, we hope to create job opportunities and contribute to the betterment of society as a whole,” she explains.

And, the foundation already boasts a number of young social innovators and entrepreneurs who have flourished with their assistance. 

This includes 35 year old Nhlanhla Ndlovu, the founder of Hustlenomics, who won R1.3 million in seed-funding during the 2018 SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards. Hustlenomics provides affordable housing in informal setllements, while addressing a number of other social and environmental issues. 

“They replace backyard shacks in informal settlements with formal brick-and-mortar structures. To make these dwellings accessible to low income earners, they build the structures free of charge and, once the building is complete, split the rental income with the land owners until the construction costs have been recuperated,” says Evans.

As well as increasing access to housing, Nhlanhla has taken social innovation one step further by using sustainable materials in the construction process and upskilling women in his community by training them on sustainable construction techniques and brick manufacturing. 

“As a for-profit social enterprise, Hustlenomics is a perfect representation of the trend to make money while doing good, rather than focussing on either one or the other,” adds Evans.

Nabilah Diedericks is another young innovator that the foundation is working with through its Tholoana Enterprise Programme. 27 year old Nabilah founded Finz Aquatics and Fitness Development, a swim school that specialises in disability therapy for children and adults with a variety of special needs, including autistic-spectrum disorder. 

Nabilah is a registered Learn to Swim coach and specialises in teaching water safety to children of all ages and abilities, however this has particular significance for those with autism. 

“Water holds a special appeal for many children on the autism spectrum but this can be a dangerous fascination, particularly when coupled with a tendency to wander. Tragically, accidental drowning is prevalent amoungst these children. Nabilah’s training helps reduce this risk while enhancing the children’s joy, confidence, fitness and coordination,” explains Evans. 

Evans uses Nabilah and Nhlanhla as examples of millennial entrepreneurs who strive for meaning and a sense of purpose on-top of profits. According to research by Deloitte, 76% of millennials believe that businesses have no ambition beyond wanting to make money. However, these entrepreneurs are proving that making money and doing good needn’t be mutually exclusive.

The University of Limpopo Student Seed Fund and Social Entrepreneurship Competition

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The SAB Foundation in partnership with the University of Limpopo has launched a Student Seed Fund and Social Entrepreneurship Competition.

Social enterprises are businesses that primarily benefit socially disadvantaged groups, contributing to society or the environment, while making a profit.

A total of R400 000 will be distributed to winning organisations.

All students registered at the University of Limpopo can apply to win seed funding for their social enterprise. To enter, simply complete the entry form linked below.

For queries, contact Dr. Masocha or Ms. Ramasobana at the Department of Business Management Office 0043, Old K Block, University of Limpopo Email reginald.masocha@ul.ac.za or morongwa.ramasobana@ul.ac.za.

The competition opens on 1 May 2019 and closes on 30 June 2019.

Please note, this competition is only open to students that are enrolled at the University of Limpopo.

The University of Limpopo and SAB Foundation Launches Student Seed Fund

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The University of Limpopo, in partnership with SAB Foundation, has launched the University of Limpopo Student Seed Fund which will encourage and support student-owned social innovation enterprises. The SAB Foundation has pledged up to R400 000 which will be managed and disbursed by the newly launched Fund.

 The Limpopo Student Seed Fund (LSSF) will be open for applications between 1 May 2019 and 30 June 2019 to all entrepreneurs registered at the University of Limpopo who are seeking funding for their early-stage social enterprises. The LSSF will allocate up to R15 000 to students who have ideas and solutions and are hoping to upscale their innovations. The University of Limpopo will offer all qualifying enterprises business coaching and mentorship.

All enterprises will go through a rigorous process with the final enterprises being decided by an investment panel consisting of representatives from the University of Limpopo, SAB Foundation and industry experts.

Bridgit Evans, SAB Foundation Director describes Social Innovation Enterprises as, “enterprises that are intentionally developing and creating solutions to address identified social needs and challenges within their respective societies.” Evans also stated, “Our long-term goal is to ignite the flame that will fuel a culture of entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship in South Africa. This is important because SMME’s will assist to grow the economy and are seen as the major job creators of the future.  It is hoped that over time the businesses growing out of social innovation will not only create jobs but will bring down the socio economic burden on the State.”   

One of the key strategies of the University of Limpopo is to become an entrepreneurial institution and thereby entrepreneurship is to be infused in all its academic programme offerings. Furthermore, entrepreneurship development and thinking is nurtured among students and staff alike with the ultimate aim of equipping our future leaders with a skills set that will enable them to actively participate and contribute to our economy and ‘finding solutions for Africa’.

The University of Limpopo says it is extremely proud of the association with the SAB Foundation in nurturing the entrepreneurial mindset among their students. The institution’s aim in the medium to longer term is to establish a fully-fledged Centre for Entrepreneurship that will enhance entrepreneurship throughout the university, thus making a meaningful contribution to address the social ills and economic challenges faced in modern day society.    

“We’re excited to be working with the University of Limpopo and given the South African context where our society is faced by a wide range of social challenges - such as unemployment, lack of financial inclusion, access to quality primary healthcare and quality education - funds such as the Limpopo Student Seed Fund are critical in mobilising innovative and impactful solutions and we remain committed to supporting the development of these innovations” says Ntandokazi Nodada, Social Innovation Specialist as the SAB Foundation.

“We have seen enterprises in educational technology, township economy revitalisation, last-mile product and service delivery, and agro-processing come through UCT’s Bertha Centre for Innovation and we are confident that the entrepreneurs at the University Limpopo will take advantage of this opportunity”, she adds.

THOLOANA ENTERPRISE PROGRAMME CLASS OF 2019

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Did you know that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in South Africa make up 91% of formalised businesses, provide employment to about 60% of the workforce, and contribute roughly 34% to the Growth Domestic Product (GDP)? These statistics are just a small indicator of the value that SMEs bring to our country.

South African entrepreneurs are making their mark on the economy and anyone who attended the SAB Foundation Tholoana Programme Graduation can vouch for this statement. Entrepreneurship is alive and thriving.

On the 26th of February a group of over 170 people gathered to celebrate the graduation of the 2017 intake of entrepreneurs who completed the intensive two-year programme. The SAB Foundation Tholoana Programme is in its ninth year of existence and the mandate of the Foundation is aimed at contributing to the economic and social empowerment of those who were previously disadvantaged.

Bridgit Evans, Director of the SAB Foundation, said, “The Foundation is geared towards providing opportunities for women, youth, people in rural areas, and persons with disabilities.” Bridgit expressed her excitement and pride while addressing the forty-eight entrepreneurs who graduated on the evening.

The graduating cohort achieved remarkable results while on the programme. The group achieved an overall growth rate of 41%, an incredible individual growth rate of 53%, and they created eighty-three jobs, fifty three of them being permanent. Results like these are rare in today’s economy, but these entrepreneurs have proved many wrong

Alex Msitshana of Deaf Empowerment Firm was one of the graduating entrepreneurs and a keynote speaker. She delivered a speech that addressed one of the key factors of the programme – diversity. She said, “We come from very different and diverse backgrounds as individuals and SMMEs but have one common thread among us, being that, we are passionately South African. We are also very proud to have been associated with a company whose roots are as South African as biltong.”

Alex spoke on behalf of other entrepreneurs in South Africa with disabilities and how this programme is inclusive and supportive of people with disabilities. “That is what we talk about as people with disabilities when we talk inclusivity – make the environment conducive, whether it is the work place, a school or university, society in general – make the environment conducive so people with disabilities can also thrive and put their abilities to maximum use.”

The diversity of the programme also speaks to the diverse businesses that can be found on the programme. From catering, building, cleaning to a mobile pharmacy in Khayelitsha – this programme reaches all corners of South Africa.

The graduation ceremony not only celebrates the entrepreneurs who have completed the programme, but also shines a light on those who have excelled in certain areas. The Rocket Fuel Award went to the female duo of WhyCook, Mathapelo Monthso and Yolanda Nomoyi, the Gold Star Award went to Blessing Sithole of Bakers Creationz, the Dream Participant Award went to Gerold Keffers of Filtrospec Wine Equipment Services, the Team Player Award went to Rushana Charles of Little Mermaids Swim School, the Media Champion Award went to Yesheen Singh of Terresano Holdings (Phyto Pro), and the Entrepreneurial Award was given to Phumza Matwele if Eunimike Trading. The Tholoana Award as well as a R15 000 cash prize was awarded to Freddy Sibuyi of Freddy and Sons Maintenance Engineering.

Freddy’s mentor, Ntando Maseko proudly says, “Freddy was not afraid to push his personal boundaries, his business’s boundaries, and his employee’s boundaries. At times I had to tell him to slow down, but he never did and because of his perseverance and determination he was able to achieve his goals.”.

The call for applicants for the SAB Foundation Tholoana Programme will open again towards the end of the year. Eligible black owned businesses are encouraged to apply by visiting the SAB Foundation website here www.sabfoundation.co.za.

APPLICATIONS FOR SAB FOUNDATION’S 2019 SOCIAL INNOVATION AND DISABILITY EMPOWERMENT AWARDS ARE NOW OPEN

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The 9th Annual SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards and 4th annual Disability Empowerment Awards are now open for entry and eligible entrepreneurs and businesses are encouraged to enter. The awards carry total prize money of more than R12 million with the winner walking away with up to R1.3 million in grant funding.

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 seek and award social enterprises, which have come up with innovative solutions, which improve access to the economy, and/or solutions for disabled people, while generating enough revenue to become sustainable over time. People with disabilities are some of the most marginalised members of society with a high unemployment rate.

Online applications open on 28 February 2019 and close on 28 March 2019 at midday. Applications can be completed by visiting the SAB Foundation website (www.sabfoundation.co.za).

“The SAB Foundation, through its Social Innovation Awards programme, aims to empower South Africa’s innovative thinkers and brightest entrepreneurial minds to develop products and services which help the country’s most vulnerable communities and at the same time empower themselves as entrepreneurs, ” says Ntando Nodada, Social Innovation Specialist at the SAB Foundation.

Prizes awarded range from between R200 000 and R1.3 million and are used as an investment in the innovation. 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. The programme is flexible and is adjusted to the needs of each winner, as mutually agreed upon by both the winner and their mentor.

To date, the programme has invested in over 160 social entrepreneurs and their innovations with a total investment of more than R53 million.

Previous award-winning innovations have improved efficiency and affordability in housing, healthcare, smallholder farming techniques, education, medical diagnostics, and cutting edge technology solutions to support people with disabilities.

“Through the SAB Foundation Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards we’ve had the opportunity to work with incredible entrepreneurs who create real, lasting change in their communities. We’re excited to see the entries for 2019 and believe that this year’s innovations will bring about even bigger, positive changes in South Africa,” says Bridgit Evans, Director of the SAB Foundation.

To apply, go to www.sabfoundation.co.za and follow the relevant instructions.

WINNING INNOVATORS GROW THEIR BUSINESS THROUGH THE SOCIAL INNOVATION AND DISABILITY EMPOWERMENT AWARDS

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The SAB Foundation’s Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards are now open for entry and eligible entrepreneurs and businesses are encouraged to apply. The awards carry total prize money of more than R12 million in grant funding and business support with the winning innovator set to walk away with R1.3 million.

“Through our Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards, we support and scale social innovations through funding and tailored mentorship. Each year, we look for innovations that demonstrates a sustainable business model while solving a social problem, with a particular emphasis on innovation that benefits women, youth, people with disability or those in rural areas,” says Bridgit Evans, SAB Foundation Director.

To understand the impact that these awards have had on the lives of social innovators, we spoke to two of our previous winners about how the awards helped them.

Lindokuhle Duma is the founder of Iziko Stoves, a manufacturer of innovative cooking and braai stoves that use wood, coal or any other biomass materials as fuel. In 2017, Lindokuhle won R150 000 in grant funding from the SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards. As part of the programme he was also given business training, mentorship and support and, according to Lindokuhle, his life was never the same after winning. 

“The Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards provide an absolutely amazing opportunity for social entrepreneurs to grow and become sustainable. It teaches them how to tell their business stories, express their passions and put meat onto the bones of their business,” explains Lindokuhle.

Schalk van der Merwe, the inventor of a hand-bike for people living in rural areas, is a 2017 Disability Empowerment Award winner and received R400 000 in seed funding for his business. He describes his journey with the SAB Foundation as one of a kind.

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“I’ve been a wheelchair user for the past 28 years and, during that time, I realised that there is a demand in South Africa for affordable assistive devices. I decided to design and manufacture a prototype for a hand bike to enhance mobility in rural areas. The SAB Foundation helped me make this dream a reality by providing funding and coaching in all aspects of running my business and introducing me to mentors that helped me gravity  business,” says Schalk.

Both entrepreneurs agreed that their businesses have benefitted hugely from being part of the programme.

Lindokuhle says that before he entered the awards, he worked alone doing all the administration and training as well as going out to attract customers. However, he now employs a team of ten people who help him manufacture and sell his products. 

“I also gained a lot of insight from the workshops and was able to learn more about the business and how to best manage it,” he adds

When asked how winning a Disability Empowerment Awards helped him, Schalk says, “With the financial back-up from the prize I won, I was able to approach the Central University of Technology in Bloemfontein, where the Product Development Technology Station helped me to design and manufacture several prototypes. Without the Disability Empowerment Awards, my social innovation would never have moved forward so rapidly.”

In conclusion, Lindokuhle and Schalk encourage all innovators who want the opportunity to grow their businesses to enter the awards. And, they offer the following advice for people submitting their applications.

“Believe in your idea, be specific about what differentiates you from other entrepreneurs and be confident in yourself when entering the awards,” says Schalk.

“Be open to the idea of partnerships and be honest with where you need help. The non-financial support, like training and mentorship, has more value than the financial,” Lindokuhle adds.

If you have a social innovation that could benefit from the Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards, visit https://sab.praxisgms.co.za/ to apply before 28 March 2019.

WHAT WE LEARNED FROM 2018 (BRIDGIT EVANS, SAB FOUNDATION – DIRECTOR)

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In many ways a new year is a new beginning, a time to dust yourself off and start fresh with the benefit of a little extra wisdom and experience. As we embark on 2019, it is important to reflect on our past as we determine the best way to secure success in the future.

Last year was a pivotal time for the SAB Foundation, during which we took a long hard look at our impact as an organisation. The lessons we learned as a result of these efforts will help us reach new heights in the coming year.

The SAB Foundation was set up with the goal of developing entrepreneurship in South Africa in order to contribute to the economic and social empowerment of historically disadvantaged persons. Since then, the foundation has invested in 2 375 entrepreneurs with a total of R239 million in grant funding and business support.

While these numbers might seem impressive, they don’t tell us whether this investment has impacted the lives of the people we set out to assist or brought us any closer to achieving our objectives.

With this in mind, last year we asked impact assessment experts to take a thorough look at our two flagship programmes, the Tholoana Enterprise Programme and the Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards. This was done by analysing detailed survey data from our 2014 to 2017 programme beneficiaries. Majority of the findings were extremely encouraging. 

Almost all of our beneficiaries are still actively developing their businesses or innovations which is particularly pleasing considering that most South African startups fail within their first year of establishment. Following their involvement with the foundation, our beneficiaries also showed an average increase in revenue and, between them, they now collectively employ more than 2 600 people. Results such as these indicate that, at the very least, we are moving in the right direction and contributing to economic and social empowerment by supporting entrepreneurship in South Africa.

However, while it is tempting to give ourselves a pat on the back and congratulate ourselves for a job well done, the data also casts light onto some of our shortcomings. Many entrepreneurs, for example, suggested improvements to the business skills development and mentorship provided by the foundation. This indicates a desire for further learning and development opportunities which the foundation must address if we are to maximise our impact.

Many entrepreneurs also reported having trouble with financial processes and cash flow management, despite these topics already being covered as part of the foundation’s training. Most start-ups have small budgets and lack financial reserves and, as a result, poorly managed cash flow can be devastating for a business. It is therefore important that we emphasise the importance of financial management in our training programmes and enhance the support we provide in this area.

Armed with a better understanding of our impact and how we can serve the needs of those we seek to empower, we are looking forward to even more success in the new year. And, to make sure that we remain on an upward trajectory, we will continue to measure our impact in the years to come.

To see our detailed Impact Reports, visit the Resources section of our website at www.SABFoundation.co.za/resources/

THE TRUE COST OF DISABILITY

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This month is National Disability Rights Awareness Month, which aims to help address the challenges facing persons with disabilities by removing discriminatory barriers. It is well known that persons with disabilities are often disproportionately poor as a result of a combination of barriers, from getting an education, to finding decent work and participating in civic life. However, having worked in this sector for four years, I have been shocked at the much more subtle, and often overlooked, cost of living barrier which can significantly impact on their quality of life.

In order to live a 'normal' and decent life, and have access to opportunities, persons with disabilities have to foot the bill for a number of additional costs not incurred by their able-bodied counterparts. This includes higher medical expenses, personal assistive devices as well as modified transport or housing. Therefore, although many people with disabilities may appear to live above the poverty line, in reality they don’t have enough money to meet their basic needs and minimum standard of living.

To draw attention to this issue, in line with the ethos of Disability Rights Awareness Month, the SAB Foundation asked three previous recipients of our Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards, to explain the cost of living barrier.

The cost of prosthetics

Michael Stevens is the Operations Manager at Jumping Kids, a beneficiary of the SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards 2016, that seeks to provide affordable prosthetic solutions to young South African amputees.

“Considering that without the necessary equipment most prosthetic or wheelchair users are unable to be active, capable members of society, it doesn't make sense that the cost barrier that allows for this is so big,” Stevens explains.

Michael cites a few examples of these costs, including that a top of the range prosthetic knee can costbetween R500 000 and R900 000 with cheaper, mechanical options,that have been around for over 20 years, retailing at over R65 000. The feet that he recommends cost between R20 000 and R45 000 and the socket, which he believes to be the most important component because of its role in comfort, can cost as much as R90 000. These are not once-off costs and, depending on the warranty, items need to be replaced every two to five years. Silicone liners, which are the barrier between the amputated limb and the socket, need to be replaced at least once a year at a cost of between R5 000 and R12 000.

Even for well-off individuals, who have the help of private medical aids, these costs are prohibitive, but for the poor they are completely exclusionary. Instead, the poor,who are reliant on public sector care, are given ‘old tech’ which equates to them experiencing a number of disadvantages.

Socket manufacturing techniques, for example, are old and time consuming, which means that people are often given ill-fitting, prosthetics, which can cause significant discomfort. The use of cheaper, heavy components make walking hard and,instead of silicone liners, people often use wool and fabric for cushioning.These cause chafing and pick up dirt and germs which can cause infection and lead to further amputations.

“This type of solution doesn't allow individuals to be active, which limits their work options and opportunities,” says Stevens. “However, we have shown that even challenging fitments like double above knee amputations can be managed in a way that allows the amputee to compete and thrive. This can be seen definitively in the outcomes of Ntando Mahlangu who, following a prosthetic fitment by Jumping Kids, went from never walking to winning a Paralympic silver medal in the 200m,” he concludes.

The cost of wheelchairs

Low income earners often rely on donated wheelchairs to get around, which are generally provided on a one-size-fits-all basis. As a result, the most commonly used and prescribed wheelchair in South Africa is the basic folding frame wheelchair – a low active wheelchair most suited for an indoor environment.

“Ideally, wheelchairs should be custom built to fit the user as well as being suitable for their circumstances,” explains Schalk van der Merwe, the inventor of a Rural Hand bike for wheelchair users in South Africa.

Low cost solutions often are not suited for people living in rural areas who have to navigate long distances over rough and uneven terrain. This compromises the durability of the chair resulting in maintenance costs for the user. Failure to meet these costs can have serious health consequences and the long term effects of incorrect seating can include contractures, scoliosis, kyphosis and pressure sores.

Avoiding these health risks can come with a barrage of additional ‘hidden’ costs. A wheelchair seat cushion, for example, that minimises the risk of pressure sores can cost as much as R7 000. Customised wheelchairs can cost as much as R50 000 to R60 000 and need to be replaced as often as every three years. Therefore, securing a suitable wheelchair and keeping up with the maintenance requirements can put significant financial strain on wheelchair users, and seriously impact their ability to compete.

To address this issue van der Merwe, a recipient of the SAB Foundation Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards 2017, developed the Rural Hand Bike. The basic design, made with easily maintainable and robust parts, makes this product uniquely affordable for individuals living with a disability.

The cost of accessible transport

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In 2017, over 50 commuters with different types of disabilities participated in Dimensional Access Technique’s Disabled Commuters Survey. The findings of this survey indicated that disabled travellers incurred an average cost of around R70 during their daily commutes. This equates to a yearly cost of R25 550, significantly more than the average transport cost of R3 957 that, according to the Stats SA Poverty Trends report 2017, poor households cough up each year.

For the most part, accessible public transport is only available in larger cities and links to transport services are in wealthier areas close to job opportunities. Once again, people living in rural or outlying areas are often unable to access these services and alternative solutions, that cater to their specific needs, can come at a prohibitive cost.

“Accessible transport services provided by government, private businesses and even disability organisations are very limited and very costly for vast majority of persons with disabilities,” explains Lubabalo Mbeki, the founder of Dimensional Access Techniques, a 2016 SAB Foundation Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Award recipient.

To address these challenges,Access Techniques has developed Khwela Mobility Unlimited, an affordable transport solution that seeks to serve the mobility and commuting needs of neglected communities.

Mbeki further explains that without the ability to afford accessible transport millions of people with disabilities are unable to leave their homes or go to welfare services, children are unable to go to school, and adults are unable to work.

In conclusion

These are just a few examples to highlight the cost of living barrier, but the same can be said for most disabilities including the hearing impaired and the blind. Hearing aids are often very expensive and in order for blind people to be able to connect to the internet and engage in the modern world, they need to purchase a braille computer which costs more than R70 000. The high costs associated with disability exclude many people from achieving the very minimum standard of living required for them to compete with able bodied individuals for work and success.

However, in South Africa we have a number of inspiring social innovators who are striving to uplift these vulnerable communities. As we commemorate National Disability Rights Awareness Month, it is essential that we take heed of this debilitating issue and continue to strive for more affordable solutions for people with disabilities. It will need a conscious effort from all sectors, public, private and civil society.

SAB FOUNDATION SOCIAL INNOVATION AND DISABILITY EMPOWERMENT AWARDS 2018 WINNERS ANNOUNCED

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R12.5 million awarded to South Africa’s most promising social innovators.

The 20 winners of the SAB Foundation Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards 2018 were announced on Thursday, 11 October 2018 at an awards event in Johannesburg. The first place winners took home more than R1 million each for their innovations.

“Through the awards, the SAB Foundation finds, supports and scales social innovations that demonstrate a sustainable business model while solving a critical social problem. To date, we have committed over R75 million towards promoting social innovation and supported 163 businesses that solve social issues and provide solutions to people with disabilities,” explains Ntandokazi Nodada, SAB Foundation Social Innovation Project Manager. 

Social Innovation Award winners

The Social Innovation Awards are aimed at innovators, entrepreneurs and institutions with prototypes or early-stage businesses that solve a social problem.

The first prize of R1.3 million was awarded to Hustlenomics, an affordable housing provider that gives low income families, who have informal backyard shacks, the opportunity to build durable structures in their place. Using alternative building technology, including interlocking bricks made from recycled materials, the new structures are built at no cost to the owners. They are financed using an innovative shared-home financing model, where rental income, generated from the completed structure, is used to pay off development costs, after which full-ownership of the structure is handed over to the land owner.

Farmru, a tech solution for smart farming, received the second place prize of R900 000. Farmru uses soil moisture, humidity and light sensors, connected to a micro controller to monitor the environment and trigger automatic irrigation only when it is required. This saves water and helps to maintain optimal soil quality. 

The third place prize of R750 000 was awarded to Spaza Credit. This microfinance solution was created by Invoiceworx for retailers in the informal sector, such as spaza shop owners, who are often unbanked and have limited access to finance.

All of the finalists received either a Development Award or a Seed Grant worth between R200 000 and R500 000.

Disability Empowerment Award winners

The Disability Empowerment Awards are aimed at promoting social innovations that improve the quality of life for people with disabilities through assistive devices, training or employment.

Clothes to Good was the overall winner of this year’s Disability Empowerment Awards, taking home R1.2 million. The social enterprise provides sustainable jobs and micro-business opportunities for people with disabilities and their families through a clothing recycling programme. The organisation recycles donated clothing and resells it in bundles to beneficiaries. These can be resold at a substantial profit, to enhance the seller’s financial freedom, while reducing the wastage of an average 24 000 tonnes of clothing that gets thrown away each year. 

 

Steps Clubfoot Care received the second place prize of R800 000. This non-profit organisation seeks to improve the lives of children born with clubfoot, a common birth defect that affects around 2 000 children in South Africa each year.

The third-place prize of R600 000 was awarded to VoQoL (Voice activated quality of life), a voice-activated tech device that gives quadriplegic and paraplegic people the freedom to control their home environments using verbal commands.

The remaining three Disability Empowerment Award finalists each received a Development Award of R300 000.

R1.3 MILLION SET TO BE AWARDED TO SOUTH AFRICA’S BEST SOCIAL INNOVATOR

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The SAB Foundation has selected the 2018 finalists in its annual Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards. The winners for both programmes will be announced at an official award ceremony on Thursday, 11 October 2018 in Johannesburg.

This year, the SAB Foundation received 193 entries from hopeful applicants to the awards. Out of those, 20 finalists – whose innovations promote access to food security, affordable housing, employment, education and assistive mechanisms for people with disabilities – were selected. This includes 14 finalists for the foundation’s eighth annual Social Innovation Awards and six for the third annual Disability Empowerment Awards.

Other than their potential to create positive societal change, the finalists’ innovations were assessed by an independent panel of judges on whether they were scalable and could be commercialised as well their potential to create job opportunities. Winners will be selected based on these considerations, with the overall Social Innovation Award and Disability Empowerment Award winners set to receive over R1 million respectively. Several other grants of between R200 000 and R750 000 are also set to be distributed to deserving finalists during the evening.

According to Social Innovation Programme Manager, Ntandokazi Nodada the quality of innovations has been on the rise since the programme was initiated eight years ago.

“We are seeing some incredibly talented South Africans produce socially informed, transformative products and services that are truly going to help make a change in the lives of those who need it the most,” says Nodada.

The SAB Foundation Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards was established as means of supporting the growth and development of social entrepreneurship in South Africa with a specific focus on serving the needs of women, the youth, people with disabilities and people living in rural areas.

“The SAB Foundation hopes to encourage entrepreneurs and assist social innovators in the creation of incredible, but often simple, resources that boost efficiency and affordability and change lives.” says Nodada.

Over the past eight years, the SAB Foundation has invested over R200 million in 432 entrepreneurs and 163 social innovators. According to an independent assessment, 93% of recipients are still actively working on their innovations and 83% have experienced an increase in annual income since receiving an award.

(Scroll down for the complete list of Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards finalists)

The 2018 SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards finalists are:

Presto Academy, Western Cape: An educational company that empowers the top performing students in the country to create content for their peers, which is delivered through books and an online learning platform. As well as maths, accounting, science, and economics content, Presto Academy offers a life coaching programme for students and employees. This teaches life skills such as stress management, study skills and creating a growth mind-set.

School in a Box, Western Cape: An educational tool consisting of a portable trunk with 10 to 30 tablets that is provided to under-resourced schools. These tablets allow learners to access high quality, interactive lessons in key subjects from grades 1 to 12, completely offline. They also provide a tech platform from which learners can access and download other learning applications and tools, at a fraction of the cost required for a normal computer laboratory.

BursaryNetwork.com, Gauteng: An online crowdfunding platform that enables philanthropists and alumni to contribute towards the university fees of a student of their choice. Donations, from as little as R100, are used to pay for students’ tuition fees, accommodation costs and resources such as text books. This is also a platform from which students can raise their own money by tutoring matric learners via an online video conferencing application. 

Solar Lab in a Bag, Eastern Cape: A portable, solar computer lab in a bag that provides rural and peri-urban communities and youth from under resourced schools with computer access and training. Communities are provided with laptops and tablets as well as a portable solar charging station for those without access to electricity. As well as equipment, the business provides IT training, empowering learners to do school work, work on their CVs and access opportunities such as jobs or bursaries.

African ECD Classroom on Wheels, Western Cape: A modular, mobile classroom that provides practical teaching aids and resources to assist educators in teaching the CAPS curriculum to pre-school, foundation phase or intermediate learners. Each classroom unit is fitted with a solar panel and a solar powered computer from which learning materials can be accessed. It also provides a compact and secure teaching space from which learners can receive instruction in numeracy, literacy and life skills.

Mintor Entry-Level Recruitment, Western Cape: A web and mobile chat-based job application and screening platform that improves entry level recruitment. The system enables youth to prove their skills and credibility to businesses, allowing recruiters to make an informed employment decision at a fraction of the time and cost. This is achieved through the use of innovations like recruitbot tech, voice note questions and referee skills endorsements. The app brings credibility and opportunities to empower youth from disadvantaged and rural communities with the purpose of empowering millions with economic inclusion in South Africa and beyond.

Spaza Credit by Invoiceworx, Gauteng: A microfinance provider for retailers in the informal sector, such as spaza shop owners, who are often unbanked and have limited access to finance. Invoiceworx operate a distribution centre and work on establishing a credit history for shop owners they service on a cash basis over six months. Capital management techniques, shop foot traffic and purchase history with other suppliers are also considered in credit rating.

Mimi BizBox, Gauteng: Consisting of sanitary pads, marketing materials and promotional t-shirts, the business-in-a box enables women with little to no formal education to sell sanitary pads within their communities, acquiring valuable business skills and experience along the way. Mimi BizBox also provides sanitary pad vending machines in a number of public spaces in order to increase women’s access to affordable, high quality sanitary wear.

ZiBiPen, Western Cape: A reloadable adrenaline auto-injector used by patients that are at risk of going into anaphylactic shock. Auto-injectors usually cost much more than the adrenaline that they contain and owning one can be expensive considering that current alternatives require for the entire device to be replaced when the adrenaline expires each year. Because the ZiBiPen is reloadable, it provides a much more affordable alternative that is accessible to lower income patients.

Hustlenomics, Gauteng: An affordable housing solution that gives low income families, who have informal backyard shacks, the opportunity to build durable structures in their place. Using alternative building technology, including interlocking bricks made from recycled materials, the new structures are built at no cost to the owners. They are financed using an innovative shared-home financing model, where income generated from the completed structure is used to buy back portions of the structure until full ownership is achieved.

Fix Forward, Western Cape: Tech-enabled platform that connects high quality, vetted building contractors with customers interested in renovating or building on their properties, at competitive prices. Through their non-profit organisation, Fix Forward also provides a 12-month entrepreneur development programme to contractors, who all come from low-income communities. The company plays an active role in the delivery of services and guarantees the quality of workmanship provided by their contractors.

Ejoobi, Gauteng: A tech platform that allows job seekers in rural areas, without internet access, to send their CVs to recruiters via SMS or USSD. Job seekers also receive cloud storage, alerts and job adverts via the platform. The system further enables employers to access and connect with off-line candidates, publish jobs via SMS and USSD, conduct surveys, gain market insights and create job seeker databases.

Farmru, Limpopo: A tech solution for smart farming that monitors the environment and executes tasks using a low-cost micro controller. The controller is connected to soil moisture, humidity and light sensors that monitor the environment and trigger automatic irrigation only when it is required, to save water and maintain optimal soil quality. The system also collects data over time which can be used to determine the ideal conditions for a variety of crops.

Full Autonomous Crop Spraying Drone, Gauteng: A tech platform that provides a cheap, efficient and reliable crop-spraying process, utilising an autonomic drone. The platform is fully autonomous and requires minimal input from the operator, while optimising the crop spraying process. It comes with a data acquisition package that collects information to inform robust and adaptive farming methods. This effective crop spraying method is instrumental in the creation of better yields and can help to increase food security in South Africa.

The 2018 Social Innovation Disability Empowerment Awards Finalists are:

Clothes to Good, Gauteng: A social enterprise that provides sustainable jobs and micro-business opportunities for people with disabilities and their families through a clothing recycling programme. Clothing is sourced from school and staff donations, then sorted, washed, repaired and sold in bundles to beneficiaries. These can be resold at a substantial profit, to enhance the seller’s financial freedom, while reducing the wastage of an average 24 000 tonnes of clothing that gets thrown away each year.

VoQoL (Voice activated quality of life), Western Cape: A voice-activated tech device that gives quadriplegic and paraplegic people the freedom to control their home environments using verbal commands. This includes controlling household devices like lights, televisions, radios and air conditioners as well as accessing information online such as weather forecasts and news. The innovation seeks to improve quality of life by enhancing operator’s ability to be self-sufficient and control their surroundings.

Walking with Brandon Foundation, Western Cape: An organisation established to fulfil the need for advanced neurological rehabilitation programmes in South Africa. The foundation provides access to effective neurological rehabilitation for individuals with all forms of physical disabilities, including spinal cord injury, stroke, brain injuries and nerve disorders. The provision of affordable care allows patients from low income communities to access cutting edge rehabilitation treatments to promote their recovery.

Steps Clubfoot Care, Western Cape: A non-profit organisation that seeks to improve the lives of children born with clubfoot, a common birth defect that affects around 2 000 children in South Africa each year. The organisation uses an outcome-based model focused on revolutionising clubfoot treatment, building capacity for excellent care and maximising impact. Their “Theory of Change” impact model consists of four pillars including training for medical professionals, clinic support, advocacy and the provision of clubfoot braces.

Pathfinder Smartcane, Gauteng: An artificial intelligence driven hand-held device that gives the visually impaired a greater degree of navigational freedom and contextual awareness. The device is equipped with a sensor that picks up information, such as traffic signals and the presence of obstacles or safety hazards, and communicates these to users via a wireless Bluetooth earpiece. This enhances operators’ awareness of their environment, improving their ability to be self-sufficient and safely negotiate their surroundings. 

Hamba Nathi, Western Cape: An affordable ride sharing service that allows people with disabilities to access inclusive transport from within their own communities. Transport providers are registered, vetted and trained on how to serve people with disabilities, and their vehicles are adapted to be wheelchair friendly. When transport providers have spare time, or space, they log their availability via an app, which then connects them with local users that are in need of a ride.

GIVING PROMISING ENTREPRENEURS A HELPING HAND

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During a recent address at the BRICS Youth Summit, Minister of Small Business Development, Lindiwe Zulu said that developing strong small, medium and micro enterprises (SMME) is the cornerstone of the National Development Plan. With a vision to create 11 million jobs by 2030, 90% of which are predicted to be from SMMEs, Zulu believes that, “small business is big business”. This is well understood by the SAB Foundation, who believe that small businesses are at the heart of economies that grow.

The SAB Foundation is an independent trust, set up as part of South African Breweries’ broad based black empowerment programme, that invests in the development of entrepreneurship in South Africa.

“The SAB Foundation is committed to making a substantial contribution towards South Africa’s national agenda of growing the economy and creating jobs. We believe that we have not only a responsibility to help, but a duty to improve the lives of people in communities,” says Bridgit Evans, SAB Foundation Director.

The foundation does this through a range of initiatives, including their Tholoana Enterprise Programme which provides two-years of structured business support, seed funding and assistance with access to markets to qualifying SMMEs.

“We invest in entrepreneurs – with a particular emphasis on women, youth, people in rural areas and entrepreneurs with a disability – who show the potential and commitment to grow their business and create jobs,” explains Evans.

Every year, the programme takes on about 60 promising new entrepreneurs and applications for this year’s programme will commence on 1 August 2018.

Last month, the SAB Foundation celebrated the graduation ceremony of the Tholoana Enterprise Programme class of 2016. In total there were 37 graduates who, upon exiting the programme, collectively increased business growth by 59% and created a remarkable 53 new permanent jobs.

Netto Maluka, was one of seven small business owners recognised at the ceremony. Maluka, who owns Mbombela Experience, a Nelspruit based travel and transport company, received the Superstar Award for his enthusiastic participation since joining the programme in July 2016.

Maluka made the most of opportunities afforded to him by the programme and, as a result, he enjoyed a 261% increase in turnover during his 20 months of mentorship, skills training, workshops and financial support. He also went from employing only three people at the start of the programme to employing six permanent members of staff and three freelancers.

“So much learning took place, but especially valuable was learning how to make an appointment and how to conduct a meeting with a client,” says Maluka. He also expressed the hope that other entrepreneurs in Mpumalanga would apply for the programme in order to create much needed jobs and stimulate the region’s economy.

Evans agrees with this saying, “One of our priorities is to provide opportunities for people in the rural areas who do not have ready access to support offered by those in large cities.”

Bukelwa Ngogo, another 2016 participant, managed to increase business turnover by 332% and jobs by a massive 400% during her time on the programme. Ngogo is the owner of SunKissed, a retailer and manufacturer of high-quality fashion, art, craft and home decor products. The store is managed from East London Airport, with goods sourced from suppliers across the province.

The SAB Foundation worked with Ngogo to help her implement a financial management and stock control system and well as open a Nedbank business account and develop a savings plan.

Ngogo says, “Being a participant of the Tholoana Enterprise Programme was hugely beneficial and really helped me find my feet as an entrepreneur. The aspect that assisted me the most was the provision of continuous business support and mentorship over a two year period. This was essential for me to address bad habits and limitations to bring about a positive and lasting change in my business. It was also hugely encouraging to know that I had access to knowledgeable mentors and experts, just a phone call away, to help with anything from accounting to marketing and social media.”

“Participants develop improved confidence and business skills that enable them to make their businesses sustainable in the long term so they can participate fully in nation building”, adds Evans.

The forecast is that by 2030, as much as 90% of new jobs in our economy will be created by SMMEs. However, in reality, nationally fewer than 30% of all SMMEs survive beyond three years. In the SAB Foundation’s case however, this figure stands at 70% for entrepreneurs that have gone through their Tholoana Enterprise Programme.

“It is profoundly heartening to see these thriving small business owners contributing so effectively to creating employment in under-resourced areas of the country,” concludes Evans.

SAB FOUNDATION SOCIAL INNOVATION AND DISABILITY EMPOWERMENT AWARDS IMPROVE LIVES IN THEIR COMMUNITIES

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Over the past seven years the SAB Foundation has invested in 103 entrepreneurs has invested in 103 through the SAB Foundation Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards. Over this time a number of truly innovative entrepreneurs have made incredible contributions to their local communities and much further afield. Their business ideas range from creative solutions for people with disabilities to businesses that target improvements in healthcare, education, low cost housing, economic relief for people living in rural areas and many more.

“In the past few years we have been really impressed with the quality and calibre of ideas and businesses that we have seen, over many fields and industries; including health, education, environment, community cohesion and more,” says Bridgit Evans, Director of the SAB Foundation.

The SAB Foundation supports entrepreneurs who have a vision to improve themselves, uplift their communities and in many cases assist to improve national service delivery through innovation. The majority of these entrepreneurs employ people from around their areas as means of creating jobs and giving employees a chance to improve their livelihoods. Since its creation, the SAB Foundation has invested R176 million to assist entrepreneurs in growing their organisations, which has created over 1000 new jobs. This has opened new doors and opportunities for entrepreneurs that have led to their businesses growing even further.

“The SAB Foundation has welcomed phenomenal entrepreneurs to the SAB Foundation family and we have watched them grow from strength to strength. All of these entrepreneurs are inspiring we are constantly learning from them. Their businesses not only make profit but also address various issues, be it economic, social or environmental”, explains Evans.

In 2017, Grassbeef by Livestock Wealth, were the overall winners at the SAB Foundation Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards. Grassbeef use a healthy way of producing beef that involves the upliftment of rural communal cattle farmers. It is an amazing organisation which has given people in rural areas a stable source of income and provide for their families in a way like never before.

While some entrepreneurs like Nthuthuko Shezi, Founder of Grassbeef, aim to address the economical issues facing people in rural areas, others have founded their businesses to cater for people like themselves. Smergos co-founders Nicholas Smit and Nicole Vergos are both disabled, and started their business – designing beautiful and personalised wheelchair bags – as there were not many manufactures of these in South Africa.

All entrepreneurs supported by the SAB Foundation under the Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards have businesses that are innovative and are early-stage businesses that  solve social problems. They directly address challenges faced by low –income women, youth, people living with disabilities or people living in rural areas.

“The SAB Foundation not only invests in an entrepreneur by funding the business, we also educate and equip these entrepreneurs with the necessary business knowledge of how best they can maintain  and grow their businesses, “ concludes Evans.

To find out more about the SAB Foundation and our entrepreneurs, please visit our website

IS MENTORSHIP IMPORTANT FOR ALL ENTREPRENEURS? THREE ENTREPRENEURS SHARE THEIR THOUGHTS.

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Over the past seven years, the SAB Foundation taken pride in investing in entrepreneurs who have a viable business solution that can also create employment opportunities for other people. One of the key factors for the SAB Foundation is mentorship. The SAB Foundation believes that mentorship plays a role in assisting entrepreneurs to grow in the business world. We took some time to chat to three of our SAB Foundation entrepreneurs who are all involved in the various entrepreneur programmes offered by the SAB Foundation; namely the SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards, The SAB Foundation Disability Empowerment Awards as well as the SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise Programme.

The SAB Foundation runs several entrepreneurship programmes every year, where entrepreneurs are granted funding for their businesses. In addition to the funds they receive, entrepreneurs are put on a tailored programme with a business mentor.

We spoke to the 2017 winners at the SAB Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards (SIA &DEA) to find out more about their experience with their mentors. Lindokuhle Duma is the founder of Iziko Stoves, innovative cooking and braai stoves that utilise wood, coal or any biomass materials as a cooking fuel. Wade Schultz is Managing Director of Brownies and Downies in Cape Town, a training centre for people with intellectual disabilities and a vessel to create a change and acceptance in the South African culture. Lastly, Yvonne Mamokiba Makuwa a past participant of the SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise Programme is the founder of an engineering company based in Limpopo.

“Being an entrepreneur can be a very long, scary and intimidating process, especially for startup entrepreneurs,” says Duma. He further supports his statement and says: “An entrepreneur needs the support not only to get good contacts and get ahead but also to have the necessary support through the stressful and difficult journey of business.”

Mentorship gives the opportunity to have a professional and qualified person on your side, a person that can assist you in growing your business and also to motivate you when things don’t seem to be working out. Schultz explains that he is grateful to the SAB Foundation for supporting him and the business, not just financially but also with a very good mentor that he could rely on. Schultz says that mentorship is vital especially for start- up entrepreneurs: “An entrepreneur should have at least one mentor. This enables one to grow as an individual and move out of one’s comfort zone”.

Makuwa completely agrees that mentorship is essential, she says that without her mentor who was assigned to her when she was a part of the SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise Programme, she would not have been able to understand her business the way she does now. Makuwa states that she wasn’t good at most things, like HR, finance and marketing as she didn’t fully understand how they worked. However, having a mentor by her side helped her enormously.

“Having a mentor helped me and the business to strengthen some legs we were not, I was fortunate enough to get a mentor that I connected with and always felt free to ask her about anything I didn’t understand”, says Makuwa.

It is obvious that all entrepreneurs agree that mentorship has played a role in their businesses. Having a mentor has assisted to shape their businesses and also assisted them to grow as individuals. A mentor helps you understand what a business is and how it should be run. Mentors grant you confidence to actually run your business. Duma explained that when he started he didn’t know how to handle his employees and he struggled with enforcing a work culture. But, that changed when he had someone to help improve his leadership skills.

Regardless of the industry that an entrepreneur is in, they need an experienced mentor to assist them in the business. They need guidance and also to have someone reliable who has been in the industry longer than they have. A mentor helps one to move ahead and also to assist in growing the entrepreneur and also the business.

Schultz concludes and says that, having a mentor has boosted his self-esteem and he is now very confident in running the business. He is so confident he has taken the task of mentoring someone else to grow in the industry, “I am not a full – time mentor but I am currently mentoring a volunteer at our business. It has been a great experience because it allows me to put my efforts and teaching into perspective,” shares Schultz.

APPLICATIONS FOR SAB FOUNDATION’S 2018 SOCIAL INNOVATION AND DISABILITY EMPOWERMENT AWARDS ARE NOW OPEN

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The 8th Annual SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards and 3rd annual Disability Empowerment Awards are now open for entry and eligible entrepreneurs and businesses are encouraged to enter. The awards carry total prize money of up to R10 million with first prize of up to R1.3 million.

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 seek and award social enterprises, which have come up with innovative solutions, which improve access to the economy, and/or solutions for disabled people, while generating enough revenue to become sustainable over time. People with disabilities are some of the most marginalised members of society with an estimated 70% unemployment rate.

Online applications open on 15 March 2018 and close on 23 April 2018 at midday.

“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, water, energy, rural livelihoods, 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 Ntandokazi Nodada, Social Innovation Specialist at the SAB Foundation.

Prizes awarded range from between R150 000 and R1.3 million and are used as an investment in the innovation. 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.

To date, the programme has invested in 114 social entrepreneurs and their innovations with a total investment of over R44 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, smallholder farming techniques, education, medical diagnostics, waste disposal, township security, fire prevention and support for people with disabilities.

“Through the SAB Foundation Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards we’ve had the opportunity to work with incredible entrepreneurs who create real, lasting change in their communities firstly, but hopefully eventually across South Africa and beyond. It is our hope that many of these innovations move from the fringes of Society to become mainstream solutions to social challenges. We’re excited to see the entries for 2018 and believe that this year will bring about even bigger, positive changes in South Africa,” believes Bridgit Evans, Director of the SAB Foundation.

 

WANT TO START A BUSINESS? THREE ENTREPRENEURS SHARE THEIR TOP TIPS

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The 2017 Entrepreneurial Ecosystem of South Africa: A Strategy for Global Leadership Report revealed that South Africa ranks 55th out of 137 countries in terms of encouraging entrepreneurship. The report, commissioned by the SAB Foundation and the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation, shows that South Africa scores better on entrepreneurial aspirations pillars than many of its peers, and well above the rest of the region.

“We’ve found that South Africa ranks in the top 25% globally in terms of competitor positioning, new technology being embraced, new products offered and the depth of our Capital Market,” shares Bridgit Evans, SAB Foundation Director.Furthering the development of entrepreneurship in South Africa, the SAB Foundation runs several entrepreneurship programmes a year, one of which is the Tholoana Enterprise Programme (TEP), a wrap-around solution supporting business growth over a two-year period through skills development, mentorship and access to tools and templates.

The road to entrepreneurship is often long and frequently lonely and assistance from a programme like TEP can make all the difference.

Current participants in the programme, Maxwell Sabelo from 2Cee Holdings, a paralegal and business consultant service company based in Pietermaritzburg; Patience Mamabolo from @Couch Designs a speciality manufacturer of household and office furniture in Mokopane; and Kennedy Mabule from Moeps Trading Enterprise which grows and supplies vegetable to several retailers in Limpopo, share their hard-earned wisdom:

1) Get to grips with finances 

Get to grips with finances Running a successful business encompasses a number of skills. Feedback shows that most entrepreneurs struggle with determining what service / product generates the bulk of their income, and how to price products and services correctly: Sabelo says one of his biggest lessons is to; “Understand your business clearly, especially in terms of finances. Know where your money is coming from – which products and services are generating the bulk of your income – as this will help you know where to focus and to grow”.

Mamabolo concurs, sharing that; “Starting out, I had no idea what I was getting in to. Small things like understanding how to calculate my costings properly and doing marketing threw me. Keep your eye on the ball when it comes to your finances. Know what’s going on in your finances as it will help you remain focused”.

“Get to grips with costs and pricing. I had to learn to base my costing not just on a final, ideal sales price, but based on all the costs that went into producing it; from planting and watering my crops, to packaging and transport,” reveals Mabule.

While financing is critical to the growth of any business, Sabelo is quick to caution entrepreneurs not to be solely driven by profit. “I believe in the two P’s: passion and profit, and learning how to balance these two. Remember that passion will carry you when your business is starting and you’re not earning. But you need profit to grow, so your business has to be sustainable in order to keep building on your passion.”

2) Get to know your market

Get to know your market“Entrepreneurs often don’t ask enough questions when setting out – we get lost in the details of our product/service and neglect the bigger picture. There’s a lot to learn about the industry/market you’re entering, and you need to know what’s going on,” believes Sabelo. Mabule meanwhile shares that he was able to spot a gap in the market because he’d been studying the local produce market for quite some time, which enabled him to jump when opportunity presented itself.

3) Work with a mentor

Mamabolo shares that she initially struggled as an entrepreneur as she felt she had no one to talk to about her ideas and challenges. Since joining TEP she believes that the factor that made the biggest difference to her business was getting a mentor. Her advice to other entrepreneurs? “Realise that you’re not alone, there are people with answers. Mentorship isn’t just important, it’s essential to the success of your business. Getting into the TEP and meeting my mentor boosted my confidence levels and has done wonders for my skills development and turnover.”

Sabelo echoes this message, emphasising that mentorship is key as it’s not possible to walk this journey alone.

Regardless of the industry, every entrepreneur needs to learn the same basic skills and walking the road alongside experienced mentors can do much to help entrepreneurs grow their business and to avoid costly mistakes along the way.