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SAB Foundation awards R12.5m to SA’s most promising social innovators

Featured image: 2018 Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards winners (Supplied)
Featured image: 2018 Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards winners (Supplied)

The SAB Foundation has awarded R12.5-million to the winners of its 2018 Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards.

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

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The winners — first place winners affordable housing provider Hustlenomics (for the Social Innovation Award) and Clothes to Good (for the Disability Empowerment Award)– received their awards at an event held in Johannesburg last Thursday (11 October). The two companies took home R1.3-million and R1.2-million in prize money, respectively.

The SAB Foundation supports social innovations that demonstrates a viable business model while solving a critical social problem.

The SAB Foundation has committed over R75-million towards promoting social innovation – SAB Foundation’s Ntandokazi Nodada

In a statement yesterday (15 October), SAB Foundation Social Innovation project manager Ntandokazi Nodada said to date, the foundation had committed over R75-million to promoting social innovation and supported 163 businesses that solve social issues and provide solutions to people with disabilities.

Social Innovation Award winners

Under the Social Innovation Awards, smart farming tech solution Farmru received the second place prize of R900 000, while the third place prize of R750 000 was awarded to Spaza Credit, a microfinance solution created by Invoiceworx for retailers in the informal sector — such as spaza shop owners.

Hustlenomics, gives low income families who live 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.

The houses 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 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.

Short-listed finalists Fix Forward, Solar Lab in a Bag and ejoobi won R400 000, R400 000 and R500 000 in the SAB’s Developmental Awards, respectively. This while the Bursary Network and Impulse Biomed each received R200 000 in seed grants.

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.

The first place winner, social enterprise Clothes to Good, provides sustainable jobs and micro-business opportunities for people with disabilities and their families through a clothing recycling programme.

Clothes to Good recycles donated clothing and resells it in bundles to beneficiaries. The clothes bundles 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.

The second place prize of R800 000 went to Steps Clubfoot Care. This non-profit organisation organisation — which also won R150 000 for winning the Audience Choice Award — seeks to improve the lives of children born with clubfoot, a common birth defect that affects around 2000 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 — developed by Cape Town based mobile tech company Coral Tech — that gives quadriplegic and paraplegic people the freedom to control their home environments using verbal commands.

In addition, three other Disability Empowerment Award finalists each received a Developmental Award of R300 000.

Featured image: 2018 Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards winners (Supplied)

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