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