SAB Foundation


[20 January 2020] The SAB Foundation has announced the 17 finalists in its tenth annual Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards. The final winners, including six finalists in its fifth annual Disability Empowerment Awards, will be announced at a virtual award ceremony on 9 February 2021.

Due to the regulations set out in the Adjusted Level 3 Lockdown in South Africa, the SAB Foundation will be hosting the awards ceremony online for the first time. The public is encouraged to join in through the SAB Foundation Facebook page to watch the live broadcast to see which of the 17 finalists will walk away with awards and grants up to the value of R1.3 million. A total of R12.6 million will be awarded to social innovators and entrepreneurs on the day.

The Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards is held each year to source and support innovation that shows that it can solve a social problem in a new and efficient way while adopting a sustainable business model.

“SAB Foundation’s long-term commitment to this work is underpinned by our belief that the economic, social and environmental issues affecting South Africa and further afield today are escalating too fast to be addressed in traditional ways,” says SAB Foundation Director, Bridgit Evans. “Disruptive technology and income generating innovation bring the promise of increased effectiveness, efficiency and scale.  Our aim is to launch and then grow these businesses to the point where they become an attractive option for traditional and impact investors.”

“Over the past nine years, we have supported 170 incredibly talented South Africans, from all walks of life,” says SAB Foundation’s Social Innovation Specialist, Ntandokazi Nodada. “Not only have they produced socially informed and transformative products and services in in multiple sectors, but also contributed an additional R219 million per annum to the economy, while creating almost 1 000 jobs.”

The finalists were selected from over 360 entries and were subjected to three rigorous rounds of judging and due diligence by esteemed experts from government, civil society, academia and the private sector. Nodada added that the calibre of entries never ceases to amaze the SAB Foundation.


The SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards find, support and scale social innovations that address socio-economic and environmental challenges. By providing challenge funding and tailored mentorship to promising local innovators, it contributes to the alleviation of social problems and help to improve the quality of life for many South Africans, with an emphasis on women, youth, people with disabilities or those in rural areas.

The list of finalists is below:


Soledad Luca De Tena founded Zenzeleni Community Networks, which provides a solar powered rural community-based high quality and affordable wireless internet service.


Saul Kornik founded HealthForce, a user-friendly web-based application that enables nurses to improve their clinical care with the support of remote general practitioners via a video link.

Oratile Seabela developed the Malii mobile application that enables taxi commuters to make payments without the use of cash.

Tami Ngalo designed the OYI medical savings card, a prepaid medical expense credit card for individuals and families that do not have access to funds for unexpected medical and healthcare needs.

Wandile Khumalo founded Syked, a virtual private counselling platform for individuals looking for alternative ways of seeking support without putting themselves at risk.

Kathryn Malherbe, CEO at MedSol AI Solutions, launched Invisio AI, a web-based software and application platform to identify abnormal breast cancer masses.

Chelsea Paull founded Umoya Foods, which has developed a range of premium health food products that are sourced from crops that are optimised for small scale farming production.



Blessing Nzuza developed the Respo mobile application that offers people an easier way of requesting an ambulance in the event of life-threatening emergencies via e-hailing.

Zamokuhle Thwala launched Agricool, a digital crowdfunding platform that enables individuals to invest in agribusinesses owned by small holder farmers.



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



Simon Barson established Word of Mouth digital market system that connects informal micro-enterprises with people in informal settlements looking for local services.



People with disabilities in South Africa face a number of social and economic barriers and currently unemployment in the sector stands at over 70%. The SAB Foundation Disability Empowerment Awards aim to find, support and scale social innovations that are either run by people with disabilities or provide disability solutions to enhance disability access and promote equality and inclusion.



Candy Androliakos founded Leafline washable sanitary wear, which are affordable and biodegradable sanitary products, nappies, chair and bed protectors made from natural fibre.

Sitembele Dlutu created the Sipokuhle Community Development, a sustainable agricultural project that aims to empower young and vulnerable people with intellectual disabilities through skills development and job creation.



Portia Mavhungu designed the Para-Tube fitted seating device that retro fits to any existing wheelchair, with a built-in toilet ensuring independence and dignity for its users.

Jabu Blose founded Virecom, a video remote interpreting system that provides high-definition video remote interpreting on-site interpreting, written-text-to-sign language translation and training.



The CDT Trust introduced an e-training platform that assists hearing-impaired children to learn spoken language and speech.

The National Institute for the Deaf launched a digital interactive educational book that provides parents/ caregivers without South African Sign Language skills the opportunity to interact with their deaf child/ infant.







Founded in 2010, the SAB Foundation provides funding for small, medium and micro-sized enterprises in order to contribute to the economic and social empowerment of historically disadvantaged persons through entrepreneurship development. The SAB Foundation’s primary beneficiaries are women, youth, people living with disabilities and people living in rural areas, from low-income backgrounds. More than R339 million to date has been invested in social innovation, disability empowerment and SMMEs.


For the latest SAB Foundation news, follow:

Facebook: @sabfoundationsa

Twitter: @sabfoundationsa

Instagram: @sabfoundationsa




For further information:


Claire Watt

The Friday Street Club

Tel: 082 490 3796