The 8th Annual SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards and 3rd annual Disability Empowerment Awards are now open for entry. Entrepreneurs and businesses that offer sustainable socially innovative products, services, business models and processes are eligible.
These products, services, business models and processes should directly address the challenges faced by low-income women, youth, people with disabilities, and people living in rural areas. The awards carry prize money of up to R1,3 million.
The Social Innovation Awards is aimed at innovators, social entrepreneurs, institutions and social enterprises with prototypes or early-stage businesses that can solve social problems.
The Disability Empowerment Awards seek and reward social enterprises that have come up with innovative solutions, which improve access to the economy, and/or solutions for people with disabilities. People with disabilities are some of the most marginalised members of our society, facing an estimated 70 percent unemployment rate.
The aim: to make a difference
“We define social innovation as innovation that demonstrates both a sustainable business model and a measurable social impact. In the past seven years of the Social Innovation Awards, we have been impressed with the quality and calibre of ideas and businesses that we have been presented with, over many fields and industries, including health, education, environment, community cohesion and more,” says Ntandokazi Nodada, social innovation project manager of the SAB Foundation.
She adds: “We hope to see many more applicants entering this year, so we can help take their ideas to the next level.”
Prizes range from between R150 000 and R1,3 million, which is often 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 selected business mentor and a technical expert.
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 114 social entrepreneurs and their innovations, with a total investment of over R44 million. This group has seen a turnover increase of 245 percent and job growth of 167 percent.
Previous award-winning innovations have improved efficiency and affordability in housing, healthcare, smallholder farming techniques, education, medical diagnostics, waste disposal, township security, fire prevention and support for 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 2018 and believe that this year will be bring about even bigger, positive changes in South Africa,” notes Bridgit Evans, director of the SAB Foundation.
The SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards was launched in 2011 as part of the SAB Foundation’s primary focus to ignite a culture of entrepreneurship in South Africa. The Foundation supports and invests in entrepreneurs and social innovation, with the priority being to benefit women and youth, people in rural areas and people with disabilities.
The Foundation is keen to create opportunities for entrepreneurs and innovators with disabilities, who are strongly encouraged to apply.
Applicants are considered eligible if they meet the following criteria:
- The SAB Foundation Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards will be open to any innovative solution that offers a credible prospect of meeting a demonstrable social and/or economic need evidenced by the SABF’s target low-income beneficiary groups (with a particular emphasis on innovation that benefits women, youth, people with disability and those in rural areas), and demonstrating potential as a sustainable business.
- Entries are welcomed from South African individuals, innovators, entrepreneurs, social enterprises and university departments. Applicants may enter as individuals on their own, or as members of a team, in which case one individual team leader must complete the online application form.
- The innovation entered must be the original work of the applicant and a true innovation and/or a significant improvement on an existing technology, product, service, production method and/or business model.
- Product innovation covers innovations in both goods and services, which can be divided into new or improved products. A new product has different characteristics and intended uses to existing products. It may use new technologies, knowledge and products or a combination of these. An improved product is an existing product whose performance is significantly increased; in terms of either increased output or a reduction in cost.
- Process innovation is the adaption or creation of improved ways to deliver a product or service. It could come from changes in knowledge, perception and understanding. For poverty reduction, process innovations can increase the level of service delivery to beneficiaries or enable practitioners to reach previously untouched groups or individuals.
- The innovation solution must have progressed past the “blue-sky” thinking stage; thus there must be some evidence of investment by the applicant. This means that applicants must be able to show proof that prior to applying, they have spent time and/or money developing the innovation: planning, developing and testing prototypes, market and industry research, developing a business plan.
- Applications are open to all South African citizens aged 18 years or older. All participants must submit a certified copy of their South African Identity Document with their online applications.
Please see the “Participation Rules” on the online Application Form for Terms and Conditions. To apply, go to www.sabfoundation.co.za and follow the instructions.