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RLabs named Social Innovator of the Year 2022

The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship announced 15 leaders in social innovation as the 2022 awardees. Marlon Parker, cofounder, and Rene Parker the CEO of Reconstructed Living Lab (RLabs) from South Africa were awarded the Social Innovators Award.
Marlon Parker, cofounder of RLabs
Marlon Parker, cofounder of RLabs
This prestigious award is in recognition of the RLabs model that has grown from a Cape Town community project helping underserved communities into a global social enterprise that has helped more 20 million people across 23 countries through offering technology skills training, building new social innovations and creating economic empowerment opportunities.

The awardees were selected by Schwab Foundation Board members, including Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Prime Minister of Denmark (2011-2015), and social innovation expert Johanna Mair, Professor of Organisation, Strategy and Leadership at the Hertie School of Governance in Germany, and Queen Mathilde of Belgium (Honorary Board Member), in recognition of their innovative approach and potential for global impact.

“The Social Innovators of the Year 2022 represent a new ecosystem of leaders who are driving change and shifting organisations and systems towards a more just, inclusive, sustainable future” said Hilde Schwab, cofounder and chairperson of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.


“This year's Schwab Foundation Awardees demonstrate that through values-based approaches centring on inclusivity, collaboration, relationships of trust and long-term sustainability, we have proven ways of changing institutions and mindsets, and disrupting traditional ways of working that hold systemic barriers in place” said François Bonnici, director of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.

The 2022 Schwab Foundation Awards are hosted in a long-term partnership with the Motsepe Foundation, founded on the philosophy of ‘ubuntu’, the African concept of giving and caring for your neighbour and other members of your community.

“I strongly believe social entrepreneurship, combined with local innovation and technology, can create meaningful change and recovery in Africa and many developing nations. At its core it is about bringing together the best of business discipline and efficiency with the best of human and social values. We need this synergy, now more than ever” said Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, Co-Chair, Motsepe Foundation and Chancellor of the University of Cape Town.

“The honour of being a Schwab Foundation Awardee is not just recognition of the work by RLabs but also highlighting what is possible with an incredible team and partners supporting the vision of hope. This award is also to celebrate every social innovator in South Africa who is willing to make a difference.” said Rene Parker.

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