SOUTH AFRICA – South African Breweries through its SAB Foundation has announced the 17 finalists in its tenth annual Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards who walked away with a total of R12.6 million (US$827,000).

Set up in 2010 as one element of the broad-based black economic empowerment transaction conducted by SAB, the foundation is an independent trust that annually invests millions of rands towards developing entrepreneurship in South Africa and the benefit of the wider South African community.

During this year’s award event, the foundation named Meat Naturally and Agricool Finance as the joint winners of the Social Innovation Awards category bagging each R1.3 million (US$88,400) in grant funding.

The Social Innovation Awards target innovators, entrepreneurs and institutions with prototypes or early-stage businesses that solve a social problem through a sustainable business model.

Meat Naturally is a social enterprise supporting communal farmers to build a sustainable farming model that provides market access for red meat producers.

While, Agricool Finance is a digital crowdfunding platform that creates financial inclusion by providing small holder farmers with finance and market linkage opportunities.

Under the category, start-ups were also given the developmental award which saw Umoya Foods, manufacturer of premium health food products that are sourced from small scale farming operations receive R650,000 (US$44,200).

The company has developed a premium range of health food products based on amaranth, using both the leaf and seeds.

Other non-food companies that were awarded in the category include Invisio Al who came in third place clinching R850,000 (US$57,800).

Under the Social Innovation Awards verticals were also given the developmental award to include Word of Mouth, OYI Medical Card, Healthforce, Zenzeleni Community Networks and Syked, Gauteng who received R450,000 (US$30,600).

A seed grant worth R200,000 (US$13,600) each was also offered to Respo, a mobile application offering an effective way of requesting emergency services through a GPS tracking system and MALII, a mobile application that enables taxi commuters to make payments without the use of cash.

Over the past nine years SAB Foundation has invested US$5.4m in supporting 170 talented South African innovators

The second award category was the Disability Empowerment Awards.

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.

Under this category the Sipokuhle Community Development, a sustainable agricultural project based in East London that aims to empower young and vulnerable people with intellectual disabilities through skills development and job creation received R500, 000 (US$34,00) as development funding.

The winner of the category was Leafline Washable Sanitary Wear scooping R1.3 million (US$88,400).

Other Disability Empowerment awardees were Digital Interactive Educational Books, Virecom, Para-Tube and Carel Du Toit Trust E-Training Platform.

“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,” said Bridgit Evans, SAB Foundation Director.

Over the past nine years SAB Foundation has invested R80 million (US$5.4m) in supporting 170 talented South African innovators.

Liked this article? Subscribe to Food Business Africa News, our regular email newsletters with the latest news insights from Africa and the World’s food and agro industry. SUBSCRIBE HERE