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Applications for SAB Foundation Social Innovation & Disability Empowerment Awards 2017

Categories: COMPANY NEWS
NOW OPEN 03 – 25 May 2017 : Prizes range from R150 000 to R1.2 million.

The SAB Foundation was launched in 2011 as part of the SAB Foundation’s primary focus to ignite a culture of entrepreneurship in South Africa. To date, the programme has invested in 88 entrepreneurs and their innovations at a total investment of over R30-million. Previous award winning innovations have improved efficiency and/or affordability in housing, health care, small holder farming techniques, education, medical diagnostics, waste disposal, township security, fire prevention, support for people with disabilities, to name but a few.

People with disabilities are some of the most marginalised members of our society with an estimated 70% unemployment rate. The SAB Foundation Disability Empowerment Awards was added as a special award category in 2016. This category seeks and awards social enterprises which have come up with innovative solutions which improve access to the economy for disabled people.

An open competition puts innovator applicants and their innovation through a rigorous, phased adjudication process. In the end, investments are made in those innovations which are innovative, scalable and can be commercialised. As part of a significant cash injection, each entrepreneur will be offered a personal mentor as well as technical assistance which will help guide them on their journey to develop their product or service into a sustainable business. This mentorship, which recognises the uniqueness of each entrepreneur, will be tailored according to each entrepreneur’s stage of operation and growth needs.

SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards 2017 prizes range from R150 000 to R1.2 million.

We define social innovation as innovation that demonstrate both a sustainable business model and a measurable social impact. The competition plans to recognise the work of entrepreneurs who are finding innovative business solutions to the challenges facing the life of low income groups, particularly women, youth, people in rural areas and people with disabilities.

Product innovations cover goods and services which can be divided into ‘new’ or ‘improved’. A new product may use advanced technology and knowledge, or a combination of the two, while an improved product is one that already exists, and its performance has been enhanced.

Process innovations involve adapting and creatively improving ways of delivering a product or service. This could come from changes in knowledge, perception and/or understanding. The innovation solution must have progressed past an idea and must have proof-of-concept. This means that applicants must be able to show evidence that prior to entering the competition that they have invested time and/or capital developing the innovation. The social impact of the innovation is a strong selection criterion.

Key Investment Principles and Criteria

  • The SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards are open to all South African citizens, and seek the best ideas to enhance the lives of disadvantaged South Africans.
  • Specific consideration will be given during the judging process to the race, gender, age and disability status of applicants.
  • Be South African – can be part of a group, organization or individual
  • Present original and innovative work
  • The innovation can be a product or a process
  • Show proof that before applying, they have spent time and/or money developing the innovation

Eligibility Criteria

  • The SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards will be open to any innovation 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), as well as demonstrating potential as a sustainable business.
  • Entries are welcomed from South African individuals, innovators, entrepreneurs, Social Enterprises and university departments. Entrants may enter as individuals on their own, or as members of a team, in which case one individual team leader shall 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, and production method 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 than 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: 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 & testing prototypes, market & industry research, developing a business plan.
  • Applications are open to all South African citizens of 18 years or older. All participants (“Entrants”) must submit a certified copy of their South African Identity Document with their online applications.
  • Please see the “Participation Rules” on the online Application Forms Terms and Conditions for further guidelines.


The SAB Foundation was established as a beneficiary of SAB’s Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) transaction, SAB Zenzele. The SAB Foundation is an independent trust for the benefit of historically disadvantaged individuals and communities through entrepreneurial development in South Africa. To date, the SAB Foundation has invested over R170-million in 844 entrepreneurs and social innovators.

To apply

  • Applications are now open: 03 May – 25 May 12h00 (midday)
  • Applications must be completed online.  Click here to access the link to the online application portal.
  • Should you have any questions on the Social Innovation Awards programme or to apply, please contact the SAB Foundation directly on sabfoundation@za.sabmiller.com


    SAB Foundation Social Innovation & Disability Empowerment Awards Brochure

    Online Application Guidance Document & Important Information

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