Meet SAB’s top 18 social startup innovations of South Africa


The South African Breweries (SAB) Foundation has selected the finalists in the fourth annual edition of its Social Innovation Awards 2014, who will compete for a R1-million first place prize.

SAB has rounded up 18 exciting innovations from around South Africa, ranging from an innovative bee hive system to an app that helps detect drug use.

“Through the Social Innovation Awards, the SAB Foundation is encouraging more individuals to empower themselves as entrepreneurs and in turn empower hundreds of others by providing them with affordable access to resources and services that can improve their lives,” says SAB Foundation Manager Bridgit Evans.

Evans says there has been a marked increase in the number and quality of innovative solutions presented since the first Social Innovation Awards in 2011. “We are encouraged each year by the rise in the number of individuals wanting to make a concerted contribution to South Africa’s social challenges and we are proud to be a part of helping them build onto their dreams for others,” says Evans.

Apart from the first place prize of R1-million, the second place winner receives an investment of R500 000 and third place, R300 000. Additionally, several seed grants of between R100 000 and R150 000 will be awarded to other deserving innovations finalists.

The final winners will be announced at an awards ceremony later this year at the end of October.

The 2014 SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards finalists are:

Bee-Pak – the world’s first flat pack and insulated beehive system designed to optimise the health, survival and production capacity of bees, as vital plant pollinators by, among other things, enhancing resistance to common pests and predators.

SensiCardiac – a hosted software solution which runs on Windows PC and iPhone and assists primary care clinicians to differentiate between pathological and cardiac murmurs.

HearScreen – transforms a smartphone into a calibrated device for early identification of disabling hearing loss.

The Lightie – a test-tube shaped solar powered light bulb designed to bring affordable lighting to low-income homes.

Safe and Sound Technology – an external sensory device for the hearing impaired. The wrist device allows the individual to connect with the outside world through various sounds.

Durban Fashion Online (DFO) – a virtual business incubation system that provides skills support and mentorship to young fashion designers.

Ultrasonic Smart Blind Stick – this device helps the visually impaired detect obstacles without aid.

Rapidom – small and inexpensive technique-free condom applicator.

Driving Ambitions – driver training for individuals with limited mobility.

DrugSign – mobile application designed to detect drug use.

Mobile Registration Device – rugged user-friendly mobile device used to identify and register individuals in deep rural areas of South Africa for healthcare and social services amongst others.

5 Star Stoves – a two-plate gas stove for clean cooking and heating for use in poor-energy households

Barrowmate – a low-cost crop sprayer that accurately dispenses liquid avoiding waste and minimising expenses.

VeinAID – Assisted injection device that locates the precise location of a patient’s vein to prevent hit and miss instances.

Brilliant Skincare – affordable oncologist approved and clinically tested skincare product for use by cancer patients during treatment.

AEON Free Energy Access Remote Control – wireless energy harvested from telecommunications towers and used in low power devices e.g. remote controls and cellphones.

Candida Free Natural – a natural plant extract for the treatment of fungal infections. The innovation resulted the awarding of a PhD at the University of Pretoria.

The EcoBrick Exchange – encourages communities to produce the EcoBrick building range as a method of income generation and used for the construction of schools and community centres. The construction technique allows for the reuse of all materials



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