A total amount of R13 650 000 in funding was awarded to twenty finalists at the Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards 2019.
The R1, 3-million winners are Regenize, a free recycling service with a rewards system, The OptiShunt, a device that prevents blindness in glaucoma patients and Specialised Seating for Disabled Children, custom chair and tray tables for children with physical disabilities.
Specialised Seating for Disabled Children also won the People’s Choice award voted by guests at the awards.
Social Innovation Award winners
The Social Innovation Awards are aimed at innovators, entrepreneurs and institutions with prototypes or early-stage businesses that solve a social problem.
First place Regenize was developed by Chad Robertson and business partner Nkazimlo Miti. A free and inclusive recycling solution that rewards people for sustainable behaviours by exchanging their recycling for virtual currency, Remali, the value of which is determined by the weight of recyclables. Remali can be used to purchase a selection of vouchers ranging from airtime to data and groceries. To drive inclusivity, Regenize partners with waste pickers during the collection process, providing them with uniforms, transport and access to sorted recyclables.
Second placed PlastiBrick receives R900 000 to further innovation by Kekeletso Tsiloane that uses recycled plastic to manufacture stock and maxi bricks that are strong, durable, fire retardant, and environmentally friendly.
In third place is Put It Out, a mini fire extinguisher designed by Toli Altounis. It is a cost-effective, non-toxic and easy to use fire extinguisher devised to curb shack fires. The R750 000 will help put the extinguisher into the hands of those who are at risk.
Disability Empowerment Award winners
The Disability Empowerment Awards are aimed at promoting social innovations that improve the quality of life for people with disabilities through assistive devices, training or employment.
In joint first place were, Specialised Seating for Disabled Children and The OptiShunt.
Innovator, Mpho Mohlolo, developed Specialised Seating for Disabled Children. These chairs and tray tables are custom-built for children with physical disabilities and are cost effective, strong and environmentally friendly.
The OptiShunt, designed by Dr Daemon McClunan, is an implantable device that prevents blindness in glaucoma patients by draining excess fluid out of the eye while equalising pressure between the eye and the optic nerve. Glaucoma, an eye disease, is most severe among people in rural areas.
“Winning the SAB Foundation Disability Empowerment Award provides us with the support we need to set the OptiShunt on a clear course to success, radically disrupt the current treatment of glaucoma and making a big impact in the fight against global blindness”, said Dr McClunan.
Third-placed ShowerBath won R750 000, which will help Xelda Rohrbeck roll out the use of a device which helps care-givers bath disabled individuals. A combination of a shower and bathtub, the innovation eases the stress of a caregiver as it eliminates electro-mechanical hoists and reduces the physical strain of having caregivers manually lift the individual.
Since 2010, the SAB Foundation has identified, supported and helped to scale social innovations which demonstrate a sustainable business model while solving a critical social problem. “To date, we have committed over R77 million towards promoting social innovation and supported 162 businesses that solve social issues and provide solutions to people with disabilities. Over and above this we are proud that these businesses have also created 614 jobs,” said SAB Foundation Director, Bridgit Evans.