06 Mar 13

JOHANNESBURG. 6 March 2013. The 3rd Annual SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards is now open for entry to entrepreneurs and businesses which offer sustainable socially innovative products and processes. These products and processes should directly address the challenges faced by low-income women, youth, people living with disabilities, and people living in rural areas.

The SAB Foundation Innovation Awards offers a first place grant of R1-million and two runner-up grants of R500 000 each. In addition, several seed grants are awarded to deserving and stand-out innovations. There is also a separate category for a winning innovation that demonstrates the highest social impact.

Last year’s R1-million winner was the Malaria Rapid Detection Kit from Real World Diagostics, owned by the young entrepreneurial duo, Ashley Uys and Lyndon Mungur. The test kit detects all strains of malaria, while indicating within 30 minutes whether the treatment provided is effective. The kit is one of nine developed globally and costs R4, making reliable diagnosis feasible in poor rural areas.

SAB Foundation Chairperson Cyril Ramaphosa says: “We need to create an alumnus of social innovators who are inspired by each other’s creativity to achieve even more. Their success stories may well be the key to unlocking even further social innovations as they find combined solutions that deliver results for those key beneficiaries we are trying to support.”
The Social Innovation Awards was launched in 2011, and is part of the SAB Foundation’s primary focus to ignite a culture of entrepreneurship in South Africa as a source of economic growth, job creation and innovation. It fulfils the mandate of the SAB Foundation in two ways:

  • Stimulating and rewarding innovation supports a broader entrepreneurial culture within South Africa;
  • The target beneficiary group stands to benefit as a result of social innovations, a process that is directly encouraged and developed through the Social Innovation Award.

Grants include funding to upscale and commercialise the innovative solution, a process which is supported by the SAB Foundation over a period of two years or longer, as needed. The size of the grant is designed to allow for substantive progress to be made by the winners. Since its inception in 2011, the SAB Foundation has paid out more than R6.5 million in prize money to deserving innovations entered into the competition.

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. An “improved” product is one that already exists, and its performance has increased significantly.

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 the ‘blue-sky’ thinking (idea) stage, and must have proof-of-concept. This means that applicants must be able to show evidence that prior to entering the competition, they have invested time and/or capital developing the innovation. The social impact of the innovation is a strong selection criterion.

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.

How to enter:
Entries for the Innovation Awards 2013 are welcomed from (but not limited to) individual innovators, entrepreneurs, NGOs, corporate foundations, Corporate Social Investment professionals, consulting firms and university departments. Entry forms can be found on the SAB Foundation website or contact Zanele Ngoqo on or on (011) 881 8678.

The closing date for entries is 12 noon on Tuesday 7th May 2013. Entries can be directed to or delivered to SAB Central Office, 65 Park Lane, Sandton c/o Zanele Ngoqo or couriered to SAB Foundation, 65 Park Lane, Sandton, 2146 c/o Zanele Ngoqo .


The SAB Foundation was founded in 2009 as a beneficiary of SAB’s broad based black economic empowerment deal, SAB Zenzele, and holds 8.4 million shares. Dividend income received from Zenzele is used for investments in initiatives which benefit the wider community.

The SAB Foundation is overseen by a board of trustees which include respected South African businessmen and women. It is chaired by SA businessman, Cyril Ramaphosa, whose passion for young entrepreneurs is widely acknowledged.

The long-term vision underpinning the SAB Foundation’s programmes is to ignite a culture of entrepreneurship in South Africa as a source of economic growth, job creation and innovation.

Research conduction into entrepreneurship highlighted three critical points:

  • SA lacks a critical mass of SMEs,
  • SA has only a few high-profile entrepreneurial role models; and
  • The country’s culture of innovation is largely untapped and un-commercialised.

To address these challenges, the SAB Foundation aims to contribute to the development of entrepreneurship by supporting the growth of a critical mass of SMEs; developing entrepreneurial role models; and stimulating and rewarding innovation.

Other than the Innovation Prize, the SAB Foundations aim to achieve its objective through the following investment initiatives:

The Tholoana Enterprise Fund is a small-scale seed-capital grant programme, to assist micro and small enterprises that provide income generation and employment.
Growth Fund (in partnership with Endeavor) - a programme that provides capital investment into medium-size, high potential enterprises, at a catalytic stage in their growth cycle.