2021 Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Award for South African Citizens

Deadline: March 31, 2021.

The SAB Foundation supports and invests in entrepreneurs and social innovation with a priority in benefitting women and youth, people in rural
areas and people living with disabilities. The SAB Foundation has created opportunities for entrepreneurs and innovators living with disabilities and they strongly encourage them to apply.


  • 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 SAB Foundation’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 and testing prototypes, market and 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.


  1. Award can range from R200,000 to R1,300,000.00 along with business development support to assist with venture growth.
  2. In addition to the prize money detailed above, the awardees are assessed on a case-by-case basis and placed on a tailored mentorship programme.
  3. This programme is flexible and adjusted to the needs of each awardee, as mutually agreed by both awardee and mentor.


  1. Originality: How innovative is the solution? Is it a significantly new business model, technology, product, service or production method?
  2. Social Impact: Can the innovation solve a serious social problem which affects the SAB Foundation target groups?
  3. Viability: To what extent is the innovation/solution commercially viable, to ensure its sustainability?
  4. Applicability to SAB Foundation’s Target Groups: Which of SAB Foundation’s target groups are able to use this social innovation to bring significant increase to their overall quality of life?
  5. Job creation: Is there potential for the creation of direct and indirect sustainable jobs currently or in the future?


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