- Seventeen winners walked away with R12.6m in grant funding and business development support at the SAB Foundation Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards.
- The SAB Foundation's primary beneficiaries are women, youth, people living with disabilities and people living in rural areas, or from low-income backgrounds.
- Founded in 2010, the foundation provides funding for small, medium and micro-sized enterprises in order to contribute to economic and social empowerment.
A total R12.6 million in grant funding and business development support was given away to 17 social innovators and disability groups at the 10th annual SAB Foundation Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards.
The ceremony was held virtually on Tuesday.
Meat Naturally and Agricool Finance were awarded joint first place in the Social Innovation Awards, while Leafline Washable Sanitary Wear scooped first place in the Disability Empowerment Awards.
All three winners were awarded R1.3 million in grant funding.
Zamakuhle Thwala of Agricool was "beyond thrilled" to be a winner, saying: "I plan to invest the funding into logistics and tech for my business in order to expand and assist more people in need." It is the third time Thwala has entered the awards.
Sarah Frazee of Meat Naturally said the prize would be a boost for those in the Kruger Park area who had been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic as she would be using the funds to complete regulation approval for a mobile abbatoir in Limpopo and to train a locally based slaughter team.
Candy Androliakos of Leafline said the win was "surreal" and that the prize would help the future development of Leafline's product range.
A total amount of R12.6 million in grant funding and business development support was given away at the end of the night to all 17 businesses/entrepreneurs shortlisted for the awards.
Founded in 2010, the SAB Foundation provides funding for small, medium and micro-sized enterprises in order to contribute to the economic and social empowerment of historically disadvantaged people through entrepreneurship development.
The SAB Foundation's primary beneficiaries are women, youth, people living with disabilities and people living in rural areas, or from low-income backgrounds.
More than R339 million to date has been invested in social innovation, disability empowerment and SMMEs.
The Social Innovation Awards are aimed at innovators, entrepreneurs and institutions with prototypes or early-stage businesses that solve a social problem through a sustainable business model.
Bridgit Evans, Director of SAB Foundation, said: "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."
- Agricool Finance based in KwaZulu-Natal, is a digital crowdfunding platform developed by Zamokuhle Thwala, that creates financial inclusion by providing small holder farmers with finance and market opportunities through its digital platform.
- Meat Naturally, social enterprise based in Mpumalanga, founded by Sarah Frazee, that supports communal farmers in building a sustainable farming model and provides market access for red meat producers.
- Third place finalist Invisio Al, founded by Kathryn Malherbe, took R850 000 in funding. Invisio AI uses machine learning to identify, segment and predict breast cancer type by means of ultrasound images and algorithms.
Winner of the Disability Awards was Leafline Washable Sanitary Wear from the Eastern Cape for their affordable and biodegradable sanitary product range made from natural products, using the inner part of the cayenne pineapple leaf.
The washable, cost effective and environmentally friendly sanitary product range is manufactured by people living with disabilities and includes sanitary towels, adult and children’s nappies, breast pads, as well as chair and bed protectors. The leafline fibre absorbs moisture and odours, and is easy to wash and dry.