The 20 winners of the SAB Foundation Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards 2018 were recently announced at an awards event in Johannesburg. The first place winners took home more than R1 million each for their innovations.
“Through the awards, the SAB Foundation finds, supports and scales social innovations that demonstrate a sustainable business model while solving a critical social problem. To date, we have committed over R75 million towards promoting social innovation and supported 163 businesses that solve social issues and provide solutions to people with disabilities,” explains Ntandokazi Nodada, SAB Foundation Social Innovation Project Manager.
The Social Innovation Awards are aimed at innovators, entrepreneurs and institutions with prototypes or early-stage businesses that solve a social problem.
The first prize of R1.3 million was awarded to Hustlenomics, an affordable housing provider that gives low income families, who have informal backyard shacks, the opportunity to build durable structures in their place. Using alternative building technology, including interlocking bricks made from recycled materials, the new structures are built at no cost to the owners. They are financed using an innovative shared-home financing model, where rental income, generated from the completed structure, is used to pay off development costs, after which full-ownership of the structure is handed over to the land owner.
Farmru, a tech solution for smart farming, received the second place prize of R900 000. Farmru uses soil moisture, humidity and light sensors, connected to a micro controller to monitor the environment and trigger automatic irrigation only when it is required. This saves water and helps to maintain optimal soil quality.
The third place prize of R750 000 was awarded to Spaza Credit. This microfinance solution was created by Invoiceworx for retailers in the informal sector, such as spaza shop owners, who are often unbanked and have limited access to finance.
All of the finalists received either a Development Award or a Seed Grant worth between R200 000 and R500 000.
Disability Empowerment Award winners
The Disability Empowerment Awards are aimed at promoting social innovations that improve the quality of life for people with disabilities through assistive devices, training or employment.
Clothes to Good was the overall winner of this year’s Disability Empowerment Awards, taking home R1.2 million. The social enterprise provides sustainable jobs and micro-business opportunities for people with disabilities and their families through a clothing recycling programme. The organisation recycles donated clothing and resells it in bundles to beneficiaries. These can be resold at a substantial profit, to enhance the seller’s financial freedom, while reducing the wastage of an average 24 000 tonnes of clothing that gets thrown away each year.
Steps Clubfoot Care received the second place prize of R800 000. This non-profit organisation seeks to improve the lives of children born with clubfoot, a common birth defect that affects around 2 000 children in South Africa each year.
The third-place prize of R600 000 was awarded to VoQoL (Voice activated quality of life), a voice-activated tech device that gives quadriplegic and paraplegic people the freedom to control their home environments using verbal commands.
The remaining three Disability Empowerment Award finalists each received a Development Award of R300 000.
Social Innovation Award winners
(First place, R1.3m Hustlenomics, Gauteng: An affordable housing solution that gives low income families, who have informal backyard shacks, the opportunity to build durable structures in their place. Using alternative building technology, including interlocking bricks made from recycled materials, the new structures are built at no cost to the owners. They are financed using an innovative shared-home financing model, where income generated from the completed structure is used to buy back portions of the structure until full ownership is achieved.
(Second place, R900 000) Farmru, Limpopo: A tech solution for smart farming that monitors the environment and executes tasks using a low-cost micro controller. The controller is connected to soil moisture, humidity and light sensors that monitor the environment and trigger automatic irrigation only when it is required, to save water and maintain optimal soil quality. The system also collects data over time which can be used to determine the ideal conditions for a variety of crops.
(Third place, R750 000 ) Spaza Credit by Invoiceworx, Gauteng: A microfinance provider for retailers in the informal sector, such as spaza shop owners, who are often unbanked and have limited access to finance. Invoiceworx operate a distribution centre and work on establishing a credit history for shop owners they service on a cash basis over six months. Capital management techniques, shop foot traffic and purchase history with other suppliers are also considered in credit rating.
To find out more about the work being done by the SAB Foundation Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards ,watch our interview with Bridgit Evans, Director of the SAB Foundation.