R12.6-million awarded to SAB Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Award winners 

The SAB Foundation 10th Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Award winners have been announced. 

First place for the Social Innovation awards was jointly awarded to Meat Naturally and Agricool Finance while Leafline Washable Sanitary Wear scooped first place for the Disability Empowerment Award. 

The awards distributed a total of R12.6-million collectively to 17 innovative social innovators

Bridgit Evans, SAB Foundation Director comments on this year’s lineup of winners.

“Over the past nine years, we have invested R80 million in supporting 170 talented South African innovators. After all of these years of being involved with social innovation at the SAB Foundation, I am still amazed and humbled by what each new round of our annual awards presents to us, and the levels of commitment and sacrifice that these unique entrepreneurs are prepared to make. This year in particular we were so inspired by the entrepreneurs that we have met – despite a challenging year due to the ongoing pandemic, we have seen these incredible people not just surviving, but in some cases, thriving ”

Hosted annually, the awards distributed a total of R12.6-million collectively to 17 innovative social innovators. This year’s three winners were each awarded R1.3-million in grant funding. 

The Social Innovation Awards

The awards accoladed early-stage startups that aim to resolve a pressing social issue with an innovative and sustainable business model. 

Based in KwaZulu-Natal, Agricool Finance is an online crowdfunding platform that promotes financial inclusion for smallholder farmers. Founded by Zamokuhle Thwala, the startup provides financial inclusion for local smallholder farmers by providing them with access to finance and market opportunities via the online platform. 

Sharing first place with Agricool Finance, Meat Naturally is a social enterprise based in Mpumalanga. Founded by Sarah Frazee, the startup supports communal farmers in creating a sustainable farming model and market access for red meat producers. 

Third place for the awards was accoladed to Invisio Al, a tech startup that utilises AI machine learning to identify, segment, and predict breast cancer. This is done through ultrasound imaging and various algorithms. Invisio Al won R850 000 in funding. 

Disability Empowerment Award winners

Aimed at promoting social innovation, the Disability Empowerment Awards recognise businesses that have created products or a service that improves the lives of individuals with disabilities through assistive devices, training, or employment. 

Founded by Candy Candy Androliakos, Leafline Washable Sanitary Wear scooped up first place for the prestigious award. The business employs individuals with disabilities and produce affordable and biodegradable sanitary products, nappies, chair and bed protectors. All the products are made from natural fibre. 

An additional three runner ups were each awarded R500 000 in development funding. These businesses are; Sipokuhle Community Development, Digital Interactive Educational Books, and Virecom.

Finalists

According to reports issued by The SAB Foundation, the remaining finalists received development and seed funding. 

Finalists for the Social Innovation Awards : 

  • Umoya Foods: Premium health food products that are sourced from small scale farming operations.
  • Word of Mouth: A digital market system that connects informal micro-enterprises with customers looking for local services. 
  • OYI Medical Card: A prepaid medical expense credit card for individuals and families that do not have access to funds for unexpected medical and healthcare needs
  • Healthforce: A user-friendly web-based application that enables nurses to improve their clinical care with the support of remote general practitioners via a video telemedicine service
  • Zenzeleni Community Networks: A solar-powered wireless community network that works closely with cooperatives in rural communities
  •  Syked: A virtual private counselling platform for individuals looking for alternative ways of seeking support without putting themselves at risk
  • Respo: A mobile application offering an effective way of requesting emergency services through a GPS tracking system
  • MALII: A mobile application that enables taxi commuters to make payments without the use of cash.

Finalists for the Disability Empowerment Award: 

  • Para-Tube:  A cost-effective retro-fitted seating device with a built-in toilet enables those that are wheelchair-bound to utilise the toilet without having to be lifted out of their wheelchair.
  • Carel Du Toit Trust E-Training Platform: An e-learning digital platform that assists hearing-impaired children to learn to hear and talk, while providing parental and professional guidance. 

Read more: Japan expands accelerator programme to Kenya
Read more: New chat-based service launches to assist SA SMMEs

Featured image: Leafline Washable Sanitary Wear, (Supplied) 

Ishani Chetty: Editor
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