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SAB Foundation’s Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards are back. The foundation is Foundation is extending a call to the public as it opens applications for the annual awards. The awards aim to uplift entrepreneurs who are addressing pressing social issues and championing the cause of disability empowerment. Prizes to be won are ranging from R300,000 to R1.3 million, coupled with invaluable business development resources,

Tarryn Tomlinson, 2023 Winner

Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment

The SAB Foundation’s commitment is to promote an innovation that brings tangible and sustainable change. “Our awards programme is to empower social innovators who are transforming lives within their communities. The entrepreneurs are equipped to scale their ventures and create sustainable businesses,” says SAB Foundation Head of Programmes, Itumeleng Dhlamini.

The SAB Foundation’s Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards represent a beacon of hope for most. It stands as a platform for those seeking to make a meaningful difference in their communities. Targeting entrepreneurs with prototypes or early-stage businesses, the awards recognize innovations that tackle social problems in novel and effective ways. From healthcare to housing, education to rural livelihoods, previous winners have emerged from diverse sectors. Each making a profound impact on the lives of low-income women, youth, or rural residents.

Meanwhile, the awards shine a spotlight on innovations that enhance economic access for persons with disabilities. It also paves the way for long-term sustainability.

Luvuyo Sume, 2023 Winner

Disability Empowerment Previous Winners

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.

Reflecting on the impact of the awards, Dhlamini notes, “Since inception, close to R110 million has been invested, empowering 174 entrepreneurs, creating 1,577 jobs, and impacting 9,940 livelihoods.” These figures highlight the transformative power of innovation when coupled with strategic support and investment.

“South Africa, as a whole, places a lot of hope on small businesses and entrepreneurs to create jobs for the future,” adds Dhlamini. “Each success story boosts not just economic growth in our country, but the restoration of hope and dignity for all.”

The path to becoming an award-winning innovator begins with a single step – applying. The process is open to South African citizens aged 18 and above with a proven track record of innovation. For aspiring changemakers, the SAB Foundation offers a lifeline, providing not only financial support but also mentorship, coaching, and technical assistance to help bring their ideas to fruition.

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