During the evening, the SAB Foundation awarded a total of R12.5 million, with the overall Social Innovation Award winner walking away with R1.3 million and the overall Disability Empowerment Award winner walking away with R1.2 million. Several other grants, ranging from R200 000 to R900 000, were also awarded on the night.
This year, the SAB Foundation received 193 entries from hopeful applicants to our Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards. Out of those, 20 winners – whose innovations promote access to food, security, affordable housing, employment, education and assistive mechanisms for people with disabilities – were selected.
The awards were established as means of supporting the growth and development of social entrepreneurship in South Africa with a specific focus on servicing the needs of women, the youth, people with disabilities and people living in rural areas.
Other than their potential to create positive societal change, the finalists innovations were assessed, by an independent panel of judges, on whether they were scalable and could be commercialised as well as their potential to create job opportunities.
Please continue reading for more details on our promising Social Innovation and Disability Award winners and the good work that they are doing to address critical social issues in South Africa.
Disability Empowerment Award Winners
Congratulations to Clothes to Good who won the first place prize of R1.2 million in the Disability Empowerment Awards. This social enterprise provides sustainable jobs and micro-business opportunities for people with disabilities and their families through a clothing recycling programme. Clothing is sourced from school and staff donations, then sorted, washed, repaired and sold in bundles to beneficiaries. These 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.
Steps Clubfoot Care came in second, winning R800 000. The organisation seeks to remove clubfoot as a source of disability through the provision of effective, early treatment and access to care by the Ponseti Technique. Steps Clubfoot Care was also the recipient of the R150 000 Audience Choice Award, which is voted for by audience members at the awards ceremony.
The third place prize of R600 000 was scooped by VoQoL, a tech platform that enables quadriplegic and paraplegic people to control their living environments through the use of voice commands.
Three of the Disability Empowerment Award finalists including Hamba Nathi, Pathfinder Smartcane and the Walking with Brandon Foundation also walked away with Development Awards to the value of R300 000 each.
Social Innovation Award Winners
A huge well done to Hustlenomics, who won the grand prize of R1.3 million. Hustlenomics is an affordable housing provider that gives low income families, who have 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. They 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 took home the second place prize of R900 000. Farmru is a tech platform that uses low cost soil moisture, humidity and light sensors, connected to a smart microcontroller, to help small-hold farmers save water, create optimal soil conditions and produce sustainable crops.
Spaza Credit by Invoiceworx won the third place prize of R750 000. Through Spaza Credit, Invoiceworx provides inventory finance to spaza shops as a revolving line of credit that allows them to maintain stock levels and prevent shortages.
Development Awards were also presented to three Social Innovation Award finalists including Ejoobi, who won R500 000, Fix Forward and Solar Lab in a Bag, who each won R400 000.
A further eight seed grants of R200 000 each were awarded to eight finalists including School in a Box, Presto Academy, Zibi Pen, Mintor Entry-level Recruitment, Autonomous Crop Spraying Drone, Mimi Bizbox, African ECD Classroom on Wheels and BursaryNetwork.com.