Applications For The SAB Foundation Social Innovation And Disability Empowerment Awards 2024 Are Open

Applications For The SAB Foundation Social Innovation And Disability Empowerment Awards 2024 Are Open. Applications are open for the annual SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards and Disability Empowerment Awards. Prizes range from R300 000 to R1.3 million in funding, and each award winner will receive valuable business skills development, coaching, mentorship, and technical support.

The awards are open to entrepreneurs that have an innovative solution that tackles social issues faced by underserved communities, or enhances economic access and empowerment for persons with disabilities.“Our awards programme serves as a platform to support and empower social innovators who are transforming lives within their families and communities,” says Itumeleng Dhlamini, Head of Programmes for the SAB Foundation. “Through our continued support, entrepreneurs are equipped to scale their ventures and create sustainable businesses.”

The Social Innovation Awards are aimed at innovators, entrepreneurs, and social enterprises with prototypes or early-stage businesses that can address a social problem in a new or innovative way. Previous winners have worked in very diverse sectors, from health, to housing, education, rural livelihoods, energy, water, financial inclusion and many more. These products, services, business models and processes should directly address the social challenges that are faced by low-income women, youth, or people living in rural areas.

The Disability Empowerment Awards recognise entrepreneurs or social enterprises that have developed an innovation that improves access to the economy and/ or provides solutions for persons living with disabilities, whilst generating enough revenue to become sustainable. In 2023, one of the winning social innovations was a ground-breaking waste management solution that converts recyclables into market-ready products. Another innovation was a reusable asthma pump sleeve, designed for children and the elderly. In the Disability Empowerment category, a high-quality silicone prosthetic liner for amputees that acts as a shock absorber while walking was awarded first place.

Since the inception of the Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards, close to R110 million has been invested in funding and business support, empowering 174 entrepreneurs. As of March 2023, these initiatives have created 1 577 new jobs and positively impacted 9 940 livelihoods. “South Africa, as a whole, places a lot of hope on small businesses and entrepreneurs to create jobs for the future,” says Itumeleng Dhlamini, Head of Programmes at the SAB Foundation. “Each success story boosts not just economic growth in our country, but the restoration of hope and dignity for all.”

By Thomas Chiothamisi
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