Impact SA

Over R15 million awarded to 17 outstanding South African social innovators

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At the 13th annual SAB Foundation Social Innovation and 8th annual Disability Empowerment Awards held in Johannesburg, Luvuyo Sume and Riaan Knight, founders of Prosthetic Engineering Technologies, clinched the top honour in the Disability Empowerment category. Bevlen Sudhu took home the first place in the Social Innovation category with his innovative solution, Re-Purpose. Each of the winning innovators were awarded R1.3 million in grant funding.

Luvuyo and Riaan’s ground breaking innovation is a high-quality silicone prosthetic liner for amputees. This liner acts as a shock absorber while walking and, whether worn above or below the knee, ensures a comfortable fit while aiding users in maintaining limb hygiene.

Bevlen’s sustainable solution offers a waste management approach that aids schools, residents, businesses, buy-back centres, and communities to segregate recyclable waste, which can then be transformed into market-ready products.

During the awards ceremony, the SAB Foundation awarded more than R15million to 17 remarkable entrepreneurs. These awards stand as a testament to the foundation’s prestigious flagship Social Innovation Awards programme and its unwavering commitment to fostering entrepreneurial development in South Africa.

“The Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards programme is focused on supporting businesses that have developed products, services, business models and processes which directly address social challenges, while simultaneously creating a sustainable business model,” says Bridgit Evans, SAB Foundation Executive Director. “The awards comprise of grant funding, alongside business development support and tailored mentoring to assist with venture growth.”

“As with every year, we are impressed by the exceptionally high calibre of social innovators that have applied,” she continues. “It is heartening to see these deserving entrepreneurs provide solutions for the challenges affecting communities across our country with their innovative approaches.”

SAB’s Corporate Affairs Vice President, Zoleka Lisa adds: “SAB is committed to supporting entrepreneurs through various programmes across our value chain, with a mission of accelerating economic growth and ensuring that businesses become more sustainable for consumers, customers, and communities. This is a special moment for all entrepreneurs who have been able to endure through the challenges they have encountered to successfully stimulate local socio-economic activities in the areas they operate.” 

This year the entries boast an impressive showcase of innovative solutions to address social issues across many industries.

Christiaan Van Den Berg and Marius Erasmus are founders of Job-Abled, a recruitment platform for persons with a disability. They were awarded second place in the Disability Empowerment category, receiving R950 000 in prize money. Their innovative solution involves partnerships with corporates and educational institutions that provide job shadowing opportunities and community project involvement for people with disabilities.

Giancarlo Beukes and Gokul Nair, founders of Easy Squeezy, were awarded second place in the Social Innovation category and R950 000 in funding. They have developed a novel and reusable asthma pump sleeve attachment for people with limited strength in their arms, such as children and the elderly. Three key features include a dual mechanism, a resettable dosage counter and animated characters to combat the stigma of children carrying and using their inhalers.

Luvo Gugwana, founder of Green Arch Aquaponics Micro-Franchise, walked away with third place in this category and was awarded R850 000 in grant funding. His sustainable solution assists with subsidised aquaponics franchising in low income communities. This unique two-pronged model approach acts as an integral stance for the adoption of sustainable agriculture.

“Over the past 13 years, we have invested over R68 million in funding and business development support, to assist 174 social innovators in growing their businesses,” Evans continues. “These entrepreneurs have created 1 577 new jobs and 2 485 people have been collectively employed, which has indirectly impacted 9 940 livelihoods.”

To learn more about the Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards visit

The full list of winners of the SAB Foundation Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards are:

Disability Empowerment Awards:

Silicone Prosthetic Liner for Amputees founded by Luvuyo Sume and Riaan Knight (Port Elizabeth).

First place: R1.3 million

A durable and cost effective product to enable people with disabilities to be mobile.

JOB-ABLED recruitment platform founded by Christiaan Van Den Berg and Marius Erasmus (Cape Town)

Second place: R950 000

A simplified digital solution for people with disabilities seeking employment.

Able2Travel AI assisted travel app founded by Tarryn Tomlinson (Cape Town).

Joint third place: R650 000

An innovative hospitality industry solution aimed at travellers with disabilities.

 DeafTouch accessible communications solution founded by Claybourne Appies (Tshwane)

Joint third place: R650 000

A video-based digital call centre platform that promotes digital inclusion for people with disabilities.

LOOP paratransit e hailing service founded by Jamie Thurston Wyngaard and Imtiyaaz Riley (Cape Town)

Development Award: R550 000

An affordable and safe e-hailing platform that makes commuting accessible for people with disabilities.

Social Innovation Awards:

Re-Purpose founded by Bevlen Sudhu (Durban)

First place: R1.3 million

A sustainable waste management solution that turns recyclable materials into a market ready product.

Easy Squeezy founded by Giancarlo Beukes and Gokul Nair (Cape Town)

Second place: R950 000

A novel and reusable asthma pump sleeve attachment for children and the elderly.

Green Arch Aquaponics Micro-Franchise founded by Luvo Gugwana (Durban)

Third place: R850 000

A sustainable solution that assists with subsidised aquaponics franchising in low-income communities.

Nick and Nichol’s Vegan Leather Designs founded by Nicholas and Nichole Nyalungu (Barberton, Mpumalanga)

Development Award: R600 000

A creative solution that upcycles car and truck inner tyre tubes to help combat pollution.

Sonke Automated Refill Stations founded by Eben De Jongh (Johannesburg)

Development Award: R600 000

A model that designs, manufactures, and manages smart automated refill stations in low-income areas.

LIQUIDGOLD Africa founded by Orion Herman (Durban)

Development Award: R500 000

Aqua Green Agricultural Incubation Model founded by Joana Ngele and Siyabonga Ngele (Bethal, Mpumalanga)

Development Award: R500 000

A fish farming incubator that empowers youth and women to start their own agri businesses.

Xhuma Neo Banking App founded by Schalk Burger (Johannesburg)

Development Award: R400 000

An educational digital banking application that promotes financial literacy and provides banking solutions.

Koola Capital SME Financing founded by Katie Dodge and Oliver Schuursman-Stekhoven (Cape Town)

Development Award: R400 000

A digital lender offering financing for businesses operating in the township economy.

Anisoptera Waste Analytics Using AI founded by Sean Kelly and Jason Morkel (Durban)

Seed Award: R300 000

An advanced waste technology system aimed at increasing the recovery rate at recycling facilities.

Wafunda Income Share Agreements founded by Leanna De Beer (Cape Town)

Seed Award: R300 000

A student funding platform that is focused on enabling access to higher education learning opportunities.

BallTalent founded by by Simon Mokgotlhoa and Lesego Ndlovu (Soweto)

Seed Award: R300 000

A web application for professional community sports clubs to recruit youth across all sporting codes.


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