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R16.1m awarded to SA's most inspiring social innovators

The SAB Foundation has announced the winners of the 2021 Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards as well as the winners of the inaugural Reduction of Alcohol Misuse Award, which rewards innovations solving social problems associated with alcohol misuse.
Gauteng economic development MEC Parks Tau, founder of Kuloola, Siyanda Mthethwa and SAB Foundation chairperson, Moss Ngoasheng. | Photo: Supplied.
Gauteng economic development MEC Parks Tau, founder of Kuloola, Siyanda Mthethwa and SAB Foundation chairperson, Moss Ngoasheng. | Photo: Supplied.

Rewarding social innovators


Siyanda Mthethwa, founder of Kuloola, was the overall winner in the SAB Foundation Social Innovation Award. Kuloola, South Africa’s first rural online grocery store, is powered by a sophisticated navigation app which maps rural households and provides households and spaza shops with a delivery service in underserved rural areas.

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Lemo Motshwane founder of Urban Mobility Solutions, placed second and received R750,000, while in third place was Claire Blanckenberg, who won R650,000 with her Siyaphambili Pre Paid Taxi App.

Mthethwa commented: “I am thrilled to have been awarded first place and am so excited to take my business to even greater heights “Through the roll out of my app, I aim to reduce transport costs and solve challenges associated with getting large food orders to households which will really benefit my community. As a social innovator, it is all about improving the lives of others.”

Ernest Majenge, creator of the Ruby Wheelchair, walked away with the first prize in the Disability Empowerment Awards Category. Ruby Wheelchair is an innovation which allows people with reduced mobility to contribute to the propulsion of their wheelchair to navigate stairs.

Jennifer Webster’s Padperch won second place in the Disability Empowerment category, winning a prize of R750,000, while Dr Pieter Smal, founder of the Sign Language Teacher's Training Programme, took third place and was awarded R550,000.

“Winning this award will give me the opportunity to make a notable difference in the lives of people living with a disability. With my innovation, my aim is to create inclusion for people with reduced mobility by giving them access to tools that will enable them to move more freely,” says Majenge.

Both Mthethwa and Majenge will recive R1.3m in funding to use towards developing their businesses.

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Rewarding innovations that address alcohol misuse


This year The SAB Foundation also created an opportunity for entrepreneurs and innovators with solutions that address or prevent alcohol misuse. The Social Innovation Reduction of Alcohol Misuse Award rewards innovations solving social problems associated with alcohol misuse, such as drunk driving, binge drinking, foetal alcohol syndrome, resistance to behaviour change and the lack of available data on alcohol abuse.

Five innovations were awarded R500,000 each in this category. These innovations are:
  • Zukhanye Mayekiso, founder of the Geo Map For Reduction of Alcohol Misuse

  • Luke Draper with his Augmented Reality Education Resource

  • Nicro with their Shifting Gears and Choosing The High Road programme

  • Mpho Segota with SAB Filters, an augmented reality using face filters to raise awareness on alcohol misuse

  • Linah Maphanga, founder of Lethabo The Groovist, a virtual assistant that helps youth avoid drinking and driving.

In addition to the prize money, the winners will be placed in a tailored business programme and receive development support from a business mentor and coach.

Bridgit Evans, director of the SAB Foundation, commented: “To date, over R76m has been deployed in grant funding and business support, to empower 152 social innovators. This year, over R16m was awarded to 28 finalists to provide the funding and support they need to see their businesses grow and thrive.”

2021 Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards winners

  • Disability Empowerment Awards Winners 2021

  • Ruby Wheelchair by Ernest Majenge (first place, R1. 3m)

  • Padperch by Jennifer Webster (second place, R750,000)

  • Sign Language Teacher’s Training Programme by Dr Pieter Smal (third place, R550,000)

  • Ka-dah Device by Tieho Tsiane (development award, R300,000)

  • Shazacin Mobile Application and Business Model by Shakila Maharaj (development award, R300,000)

  • Thusanang Enabling Support Services by Edwina Makgamatha (development award, R300,000)

Social Innovation Awards winners 2021

  • Kuloola by Siyanda Mthethwa (first place, R1.3m)

  • Urban Mobility by Lemo Motshwane (second place, R750,000)

  • Siyaphambili Pre-paid Taxi App by Claire Blanckenberg (third place, R650,000)

  • Pneumonia Diagnosis Tool Suite by Storm Rhoda (development award, R500,000)

  • Stokfella Mobile app by Tshepo Moloi (development award, R500,000)

  • Gcwalisa by Miles Kubheka (development award, R500,000)

  • Desert Green Africa by Tumelo Chiloane (development award, R400,000)

  • Mapha Logistics by Loyiso Vatsha (development award, R400,000)

  • Umphakathi Burial Scheme by Smaga Mthembu (development award, R400,000)

  • Agri Seed Capital by Mpho Mathithibane (seed award, R200,000)

  • Bee Loved Honey by Lesego Serolong Holzapfel (seed award, R200,000)

  • Foi Science Healing Biopolymers by Nomahlubi Nazo (seed award, R200,000)

  • Fruityxfusion by Humbulani Nekhudzhiga (seed award, R200,000)

  • Khula! Ecosystem by Karidas Tshintsholo (seed award, R200,000)

  • Lizwe Meat by Athenkosi Denga/ Soyama Mtongana (seed award, R200,000)

  • Natural Ingredients (Bulbine Frutescens) by Oxolo Mofokeng (seed award, R200,000)

  • Trakta Bicycles by Colin Cooper (seed award, R200,000)
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