South African Breweries (SAB) is hosting its fourth annual Social Innovation Awards, an event that recognises local entrepreneurs with sustainable and innovative ideas that could benefit South African women, youth, people with disabilities and those living in rural areas.

Entries can either be a product or process that addresses a challenge faced by the targeted beneficiary groups, with emphasis placed on innovations that are scalable and can be commercialised.

Eighteen finalists have been announced and will go on to compete for the grand prize of R1 million towards their innovation. Second place will receive R500 000 and third place, R300 000. 

We picked up on the ten finalists that have unique tech-related products or processes. If these interesting concepts are anything to go by, innovation in South Africa is definitely going in the right direction:

  • SensiCardiac – a hosted software solution which runs on Windows PC and iPhone and assists primary care clinicians differentiate between pathological and cardiac murmurs.
  • HearScreen – transforms a smartphone into a calibrated device for early identification of disabling hearing loss.
  • The Lightie – a test-tube shaped solar powered light bulb designed to bring affordable lighting to low-income homes.
  • Safe and Sound Technology – an external sensory device for the hearing impaired. The wrist device allows the individual to connect with the outside world through various sounds.
  • Durban Fashion Online (DFO) – a virtual business incubation system that provides skills support and mentorship to young fashion designers.
  • Ultrasonic Smart Blind Stick – a device helps visually impaired detect obstacles without aid.
  • DrugSign – a mobile app designed to detect drug use.
  • Mobile Registration Device – a rugged, user-friendly mobile device used to identify and register individuals in deep rural areas of South Africa for healthcare and social services amongst others.
  • 5 Star Stoves – a two-plate gas stove for clean cooking and heating for use in poor-energy households
  • AEON Free Energy Access Remote Control – wireless energy harvested from telecommunications towers and used in low power devices e.g. remote controls and cellphones.

“Innovative solutions to economic and social issues in South Africa can be a powerful driving force behind bringing positive change for people within local low-income communities and individuals. Through the Social Innovation Awards, the SAB Foundation is encouraging more individuals to empower themselves as entrepreneurs and in turn empower hundreds of others by providing them with affordable access to resources and services that can improve their lives,” says Bridgit Evans, the manager of the SAB Foundation.

The SAB Social Innovation Awards ceremony will take place in October. You can have a look at the full list f finalists on the SAB website.

[Source – TechMoran, Image – The Lightie]