SAB Foundation’s Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards Open

Dr Daemon McClunan

Applications for the 10th annual SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards and fifth annual Disability Empowerment Awards are now open, and local social innovators who are committed to addressing social issues are encouraged to apply.

The winning innovation stands the chance of receiving up to
R1.3 million in funding, as well as business development support.

In the Western Cape the SAB Foundation has provided over R138 million in grant funding and business support to 191 entrepreneurs to date.

This has helped them grow their collective turnover from
R101 million to over R142 million, an increase of 41%.

They also employ a total of 887 people, of which 266 are new jobs.

So far, the Western Cape has produced a number of winning social innovators, including last year’s joint Disability Empowerment Award winner, Dr Daemon McClunan.

Dr Daemon is the founder of Optishunt, an implantable device that prevents blindness in glaucoma patients by draining excess fluid out of their eyes and equalising pressure between the eye and the optic nerve

“Since joining the SAB Foundation, I have been surrounded by passionate and innovative people who are striving to fight the social problems faced by our society.

“With the funds received, I aim to run the first clinical trials and
prepare for our global release at the World Ophthalmology Congress. I am grateful to have been part of such a critical programme that is assisting me in the fight against blindness”, says Dr Daemon.

Through the awards, the SAB Foundation aims to empower innovative thinkers like Dr Daemon to develop products and services, which help the country’s most vulnerable communities, while also empowering them as entrepreneurs.

Prizes awarded range from
R200 000 and R1.3 million and are used as an investment in the innovation. In addition to the prize money, the winners will also receive business development support.

The Social Innovation Awards are aimed at innovators, social entrepreneurs, institutions and social enterprises with prototypes or early-stage businesses that can solve social problems.

These products, services, business models and processes should directly address the challenges faced by low-income women, youth, people living with disabilities, or people living in rural areas.

The Disability Empowerment Awards seek and award social enterprises, which have come up with innovative solutions, which improve access to the economy, and/or solutions for disabled people, while generating enough revenue to become sustainable over time.

People with disabilities are some of the most marginalised members of society with a high unemployment rate.

Online applications are now open to members of the public, and can be completed by visiting www.sabfoundation.co.za, before the closing date, which is Monday March 23.