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Finalists selected for Social Innovation Awards

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SAB Foundation has selected 14 finalists in its fifth annual Social Innovation Awards 2015. The final winners will be announced at an official awards ceremony on 15 October 2015.

The first place winner will receive a R1,2-million financial investment, up from R1-million in previous years, while second and third place receive R600 000 and R400 000 respectively. Several seed grants of between R100 000 and R150 000 will also be awarded to other deserving innovations finalists.

The finalists were selected from 125 entries this year and SAB Foundation manager Bridgit Evans says that, since the programme was initiated five years ago, the quality of innovations has been on the rise.

“We are seeing some incredibly talented young South Africans produce socially informed and transformative products and services that are truly going to help make a change in the lives of those who need it the most,” says Evans.

She says the finalists tackle issues such as food security, human rights, access to education information, facial reconstruction, alternative energy and feminine hygiene.

Other than their potential to create positive societal change, the finalist’s innovations were selected according to whether the independent panel of judges assessment showed they were scalable and could be commercialised.

The SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards was established in 2010 as a means of supporting the growth and development of entrepreneurship in South Africa with a specific focus on servicing the needs of low-income women, the youth, people with disabilities and people living in rural areas.

“The SAB Foundation hopes to encourage individuals to empower themselves as entrepreneurs and in the process assist others with incredible but often simple resources which change the way our lives work,” says Evans.

Since the launch of the SAB Foundation it has invested in a total of 49 social innovations through a financial commitment of more than R13-million.

The 2015 SAB Foundation Social Innovation Awards finalists are:

* Abomakgereza (Recycling Hustlers) – Abomakgereza provides sustainable waste trolleys to South African informal waste pickers. The lightweight trolleys allow for more waste to be collected compared to the tricycles currently in use. The trolleys also double-up as mobile billboards, allowing companies to advertise their brands.

* briGado – briGado is a sustainable, manually operated brick making kit made from recycled plastic. The kit makes 36 bricks at a time and is a manually operated, light weight and easy to clean tool. This innovation allows home owners to build at their own pace and creates an affordable alternative for builders.

* Eggmobile Social Project – The Eggmobile Social Project facilitates outdoor hen production. What makes the Eggmobile so unique is the hen housing unit’s mesh flooring which produces compost for fertiliser.

* Genie Lamp – The Genie Lamp has a 12V battery which powers an 11W energy saver bayonet globe. It has a USB port which can charge a cellphone, laptop or PC. The Genie Lamp can burn for up to eight hours. The inexpensive alternative light source has won the Eskom award for Best Design in the Professional and overall category.

* Gradesmatch – Gradesmatch is an innovative system designed match learner high school results with that of any tertiary institution’s entrance requirement. It also breaks down the student’s results by subject, showing them how to improve or providing alternative paths to follow best suited to their strengths.

* Lady Liberty – Lady Liberty offers a legal service with a mobile office, as well as an online service, that travels to poor communities assisting vulnerable women on a pro bono basis.

* Lakheni – Lakheni provides low income families access to discounted food items and a stable income stream to poorly resourced crèches enabling them to deliver better services and be better equipped to nourish young children.

* Low cost insect production units for animal feed – A container unit using fly larvae to facilitate waste management for food producers and abattoirs. According to the innovators, the method achieves a 40% reduction of the waste. The larvae is converted into low cost animal feed protein.

* Manufacturing of external maxillofacial prostheses – The innovation is a new way of producing external maxillofacial prosthesis using Additive Manufacturing technology. Its aim is to benefit people suffering from facial deformities caused by accidents or cancer.

* The Lumkani early warning fire detection system – A fire detection device and alert system to help address the challenges of informal settlement fires in South African communities.

* Mobile Career Planning Platform – The TshedzaApp uses a special technology to mimic career guidance conversations young people may have with career counsellors, from finding careers that are suitable for them to knowing which subjects to select in high school, tertiary institutions and course information.

* SnappBox – A hardware distribution solution for eBooks and other content, Snappbox allows students to access eBooks within a school directly from their intranet or WiFi rather than downloading all their eBooks individually from the internet. This helps bypass bandwidth reliance and expensive internet costs, providing almost instant download speed.

* Specialised Deliveries – A delivery service which utilises motorbikes and vehicles to deliver books and medicines to schools and clinics in rural areas.

* Subz Washable Sanitary Pads – Subz Pants and Pads is a sustainable, washable, eco-friendly, hygienic reusable sanitary pad allowing young women the freedom to go to school with dignity resolving the problem of non-attendance caused by lack of sanitaryware.