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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 (

“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 and follow the relevant instructions.