/ 18 October 2022

R18-million awarded to 29 of South Africa’s most inspiring social innovators

Sibongile Mongadi
Sibongile Mongadi from Uku'hamba Prosthetics and Orthotics claims her prize money

The SAB Foundation, in partnership with the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), awarded R18-million in grant funding and business development support to 29 deserving entrepreneurs at its 12th annual Social Innovation and 7th annual Disability Empowerment Awards.

Liz Moynihan, founder of Kotonki, and Sibongile Mongadi from Uku’hamba Prosthetics and Orthotics were the overall winners of the Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards. 

The Kotonki innovation was awarded top prize in the Social Innovation category and Uku’hamba Prosthetics and Orthotics won first prize in the Disability Empowerment Awards category. Both innovations received R1.3-million each in grant funding and business development support. 

Joint second place in the Disability Empowerment Awards Category went to Louine Griessel from Breede Valley APD Business Units and Chelsea Williamson from iSchool Africa. Both innovations were awarded R750 000 in prize money. 

Breede Valley APD Business Units provides a platform for vulnerable persons with disabilities to develop their full vocational potential and iSchool Africa empowers deaf youth with digital skills.

In the Social Innovation Awards Category, iKhaya Lekhaya was awarded second place with grant funding of R800 000 and From Waste to Value walked away with third place and R700 000 in grant funding. 

iKhaya Lekhaya is a co-financing model that enables employers to directly assist employees in improving their living conditions by providing fire and flood-retardant shelters. 

From Waste to Value collects disposed cooking oil from local food establishments and transforms it into sustainably packaged and affordable soap bars.

“We congratulate all the finalists and winners of the SAB Foundation Awards. We are also proud to see that three projects previously supported by TIA are among the finalists,” said Tshembani Khupane, Acting Head of Strategic Partnerships and Business Development for TIA. “Through this partnership we are committed to expanding innovation-related activities in underserved regions as well as promoting social entrepreneurship development in South Africa.”

The theme for this year’s awards was renewal, revival and resilience, honouring the tenacity and sheer will of South African entrepreneurs. These entrepreneurs have gone through hardship and struggle following the pandemic, civil unrest and global conflict, but still thrived against all odds. 

“Our awards took inspiration from the South African Fire Lily, a tough plant that defies the elements by producing its beautiful salmon to scarlet blooms just nine days after the destructive effects of a fire,” said Bridgit Evans, SAB Foundation Executive Director. “Today we celebrate these amazing social innovators for their endurance and we want to see them flourish into bigger and better enterprises that will stimulate local socioeconomic activities beyond their current areas of operation.

“To date we have invested over R73-million in funding and business development support, to help 143 social innovators,” she continued. “Each innovator focuses on solving a social problem in the sectors such as housing, healthcare, education, social services, disability, energy, water and sanitation, community safety and security, agriculture, recycling, and financial inclusion, and we look forward to working with this year’s cohort. 

“This year, we are also extremely grateful to TIA for believing in our work and making their own contribution to this year’s winners,” added Evans.

This year the awards included a new category, in partnership with the South African Breweries (SAB). The SAB SHARP Awards were established to specifically target innovators, institutions, students, researchers and social enterprises with innovative ideas or prototypes that empower women in at-risk communities. 

Izipho Zokuphila Tracking, founded by Simphiwe Ntuli and Siyabonga Mgadi, walked away as the overall winners, taking home the top prize of R500 000 in funding.

“We are so inspired by the innovations we have seen and applaud these brilliant problem solvers,” said Zoleka Lisa, Vice-President of Corporate Affairs at SAB. “We support social innovation and it has been a privilege for us to collaborate with the SAB Foundation.”

To learn more about the Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards visit: https://sabfoundation.co.za/social-innovation-awards

About the SAB Foundation

Founded in 2010, the SAB Foundation provides funding for small, medium and micro-sized enterprises in order to contribute to the economic and social empowerment of historically disadvantaged persons through entrepreneurship development. The SAB Foundation’s primary beneficiaries are women, youth, people living with disabilities and people living in rural areas, from low-income backgrounds. More than R534-million to date has been invested in social innovation, disability empowerment and SMMEs.

SAB Foundation Disability Empowerment Awards:

Uku’hamba Prosthetics and Orthotics, founded by Sibongile Mongadi (Soweto, Gauteng) 

First place: R1.3-million

Technology that produces high-quality, affordable prosthetics and orthotics for amputees and persons with disabilities.

Breede Valley APD Business Units, founded by Louine Griessel (Worcester, Western Cape) 

Second place: R750 000

A platform that provides personal and professional growth and skills training for persons with disabilities.

iSchool Africa, founded by Chelsea Williamson (Johannesburg, Gauteng) 

Third place: R750 000 

A disability inclusion programme that empowers deaf youth with digital skills. This 10-month skills development programme empowers youth with disabilities by providing them with training in technological skills.

Spectrum Chefs Academy, founded by Cheryl Terblanche (Cape Town, Western Cape) Development Award: R500 000

A culinary skills development centre that provides training for learners with a disability to build their confidence and self-worth.

Disability Info South Africa, founded by Alan Downey (Cape Town, Western Cape) 

Development Award: R300 000

A digital portal that provides easy access to information, opportunities and guidance for persons with disabilities.

Robotics with Neurodiverse, founded by Emma Mpahlele (Cape Town, Western Cape) 

Development Award: R300 000

A teaching programme that develops the untapped potential of neurodiverse students using Lego robotics education and coding.

Maretlagadi Welfare Centre, founded by Elvis Seroka (Limpopo) 

Development Award: R300 000

A centre that provides a safe space and offers skills development for children with disabilities in rural Limpopo.

SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards:

Kotonki, founded by Liz Moynihan (Roodepoort, Johannesburg) 

First place: R1.3-million

A low-cost utility vehicle that assists emerging rural farmers in performing their daily tasks.

iKhaya Lekhaya, founded by Andy Bolnick (Cape Town, Western Cape) 

Second place: R800 000

A provider of prefinance and a facilitator between the private sector and underserved areas to upgrade informal homes.

From Waste to Value, founded by Thuso Motau (Johannesburg, Gauteng) 

Third place: R700 000

A recycling initiative that converts used cooking oil into quality soap bars that are available to low-income communities.

Sari for Change, founded by Rayana Edwards (Johannesburg, Gauteng) 

Development Award: R600 000

A sustainable fashion project that enables women to become self-sufficient through recreating new garments from recycled saris.

Africanize, founded by Gcina Ntsonga (Cape Town, Western Cape) 

Development Award: R500 000

A web-based marketing and food delivery service for informal kitchens and restaurants in township communities.

Cloudy Deliveries, founded by Colin Mkosi (Langa, Western Cape) 

Development Award: R400 000

A bicycle delivery service for local restaurants and supermarkets in townships.

Smart Food Growing Technologies, founded by Andrew Pott (Johannesburg, Gauteng) 

Development Award: R400 000

A self-watering flat-packable vegetable growing box that enables individuals to grow vegetables in small spaces.

Homeless Home Project, founded by Dr Nobs Mwanda and Toni Rothbart (Johannesburg, Gauteng)

Seed Award: R300 000

A multipurpose clothing item that doubles up as a sleeping bag, a lightweight jacket, and a cross body bag for displaced individuals.

Mind Blown Game, founded by Viroshen Chetty/ Nireshnee Chetty (Durban, KwaZulu-Natal) 

Seed Award: R300 000

A collectible cards interactive mobile game with topics aligned to the STEM syllabus.

Certified Organic dried herbs and agric-training, founded by Sam Serumula (Polokwane, Limpopo)

Seed Award: R300 000

An organic processing facility which supplies dried herbs and other medicinal plant material. 

Fire Killa Extinguishers, founded by Bryan Moulang (Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape)

Seed Award: R300 000

A polymer-based non-pressurised, recyclable and reusable fire extinguisher designed to combat the threat of fires in informal settlements.

RDL Health, founded by Andile Nonyane (Johannesburg, Gauteng) 

Seed Award: R300 000

Providers of medical facilities for specialists offering quality healthcare services in township communities.

Mfanex Water, founded by Khulekani Mpanza (Eshowe, KwaZulu-Natal) 

Seed Award: R300 000

An online water factory shop that offers a door-to-door water re-filling and ice delivery service in rural areas.

Making Healthy Easy, founded by Maxi-Lee Machado and Xoliswa England (Ballito, KwaZulu-Natal) Seed Award:  R300 000

A fruit and vegetable agroprocessing enterprise that makes healthy products easily accessible to all.

Green Grid Building, founded by Molebogeng Motlanthe (Polokwane, Limpopo) 

Seed Award:  R300 000

A solution that converts shipping containers into low-cost houses with an off-grid utility system. 

Digital Farming Platform, founded by Tumi Frazier (Alberton, Johannesburg)

Seed Award:  R300 000

A mobile application that provides emerging farmers with access to educational agricultural content in their ethnic language.

Addressdox, founded by Tsholofelo Ramokoka (Rustenburg, North West) 

Seed Award: R300 000

A digital platform that supplies people from rural communities with no formal address with a proof of residence document.


Izipho Zokuphila Tracking, founded by Simphiwe Ntuli and Siyabonga Mgadi (Durban, KwaZulu-Natal) 

First place R500 000

A service that provides protection through the use of traceable fashion accessories. 

KasiFlavor App, founded by Mlamuli Mavundla (Durban, KwaZulu-Natal) 

Second place R400 000

A mobile application that supports fast food outlet owners in township communities to expand their customer base. 

The Cleaning Fix, founded by Joshua Cox (Cape Town, Western Cape) 

Third place R300 000

A digital solution that provides dignified work opportunities for mothers from low-income communities. 

Production of biochar to boost food security, founded by Thandiwe Mchunu (Durban, KwaZulu-Natal) 

Development Award R250 000

A farming project that converts weeds, cut grass, fallen leaves, harvest waste and alien plant into organic fertiliser.

Village Garden Fresh, founded by Lefentse Chapman (Polokwane, Limpopo) 

Development Award R250 000

An innovation that empowers women to grow their own vegetable gardens and sell their produce.