Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The SAB Foundation Innovation Award

1. The Aim of the SAB Foundation Innovation Award
The SAB Foundation is running an Innovation Award 2011, aligned to its core mandate of investing in
entrepreneurial development, with a focus on women, the youth, persons with disabilities, and rural
areas (“the target beneficiary groups”). The prize will be awarded for either products or processes
that present an innovative solution to the pressing daily challenges facing women, the youth,
persons with disabilities and persons in rural areas.  

2. The Award
First Prize: R1m
Two Runners-Up: R500k each
The prize for the competition is funding for the upscaling and commercialisation of the innovation, a
process which will be supported by the SAB Foundation over a period of two years. During the final
application stage, shortlisted applicants need to present an indicative budget of how they would spend
this prize money along these lines. The size of the prizes is designed to allow for substantive progress to
be made by the winners.

3. Award Design
The SAB Foundation Innovation Award has been specifically designed in order to:
1. Exemplify excellence: through publicity which will accompany the SABF Innovation Award,  
examples of innovations that benefit poor people will be showcased.   
2. Value from participation: through participating in the Innovation Awards, shortlisted applications
will be inspired, strengthened and developed  The Innovation Award Process itself will be used to
educate the public about Innovation and Entrepreneurship, as well as to improve the skills of the
participants. Thus participants will be coached during the programme, enabling them to learn
valuable lessons regardless of the formal outcome and to build a sustainable community of interest.  

4. Criteria
The Innovation Award will be specifically focused on innovations which have progressed past ideas, and
have reached proof of concept stage (i.e. require piloting and testing), and now need a strong focus on
commercialisation or scaling-up. The Innovation Award is designed to assist the entrepreneurs along
the path towards commercialisation, scaling up and replication of their innovation – with the
aim that it will reach and benefit significant numbers of the target beneficiary groups of the
SAB Foundation.

The prize will be awarded for either products or processes that present an innovative solution to the
pressing challenges facing women, the youth, persons with disabilities and persons in rural areas.  

• Product innovation covers innovations in both goods and services, which can again be divided into
new or improved products. A new product has different characteristics and intended uses than
existing products. It may use new technologies, knowledge and products or a combination of these.
An improved product is an existing product whose performance is significantly increased; in terms of
either increased output or a reduction in cost.
• Process innovation is the adaptation or creation of improved ways to deliver a product or service. It
could come from changes in knowledge, perception and understanding. For poverty reduction,
process innovations can increase the level of service delivery to beneficiaries, or enable practitioners
to reach previously untouched groups or individuals.

Stage One: Eligibility criteria

• The SABF Innovation Awards will be open to any innovation that offers a credible prospect of meeting
a demonstrable social need evidenced by the SABF’s target beneficiary groups  
• The innovation must be precisely that: a product or process innovation – as explained earlier this
could be a new business model, technology, product, service, production method etc.
• The innovation must have progressed past the “blue-sky” thinking stage: there must be some
evidence of investment by the applicant. This means that applicants must be able to show proof that
prior to applying, they have spent time and/or money developing the innovation: planning,
developing & testing prototypes, market & industry research, developing a business plan.  
• The innovation must have a demonstrable (potential) pro-poor impact
• Applicants must be over the age of 18
• Applications can be from individuals, teams or organisations.  

Stage Two: Impact criteria
• Commercial viability – to what extent is the innovation commercially viable, to ensure its
sustainability? The specific sub-components are:   
o Business plan: applicants will have to submit a business plan for the innovation which
demonstrates the path to commercial viability. Applicants who have conducted market
research, piloted products etc will have stronger business cases and hence will score higher
on this criterion.
o Track record: the track record of the applicant is an important indicator of implementation
ability. This will directly inform an assessment of the ‘capacity to implement’  
• Extent to which the innovation will potentially benefit the SAB Foundation’s target
beneficiary groups. This is an important criterion, which involves a consideration of the potential
scale and reach of the innovation. Key components are:
o Scalability
1. The potential of the innovation to be scaled up in order to reach large numbers of the
target group. Innovations which are very specific to a certain geography or which require
substantial expertise to implement in other areas will be at a disadvantage.   
2. The number of potential beneficiaries i.e. the number of people who could ultimately
benefit from the innovation if it was successfully scaled-up
o Replicability / demonstration value: the extent to which the innovation may stimulate other
players to undertake their own innovations, provide lessons, or provide examples of best-
• Nature of the problem which the innovation is addressing. Will the innovation solve a serious,
long-standing problem which affects the target group?  

5. Selection Process
Applications open on 1 July 2011, and close on 9 September 2011.  
Stage One: Initial Applications  
All Stage One applications are assessed and filtered, and a shortlist of up to 20 applications selected. The
shortlisted applicants are then invited to attend a two-day workshop, facilitated by a team of Innovation
& Entrepreneurship experts. The focus of the workshop is on the steps necessary to take the innovation
to the next stage: either further R&D or commercialisation. Following this interaction, Final Applications
are submitted and assessed, resulting in the selection of the winners.  

Stage Two: Final Applications
The Final Applications will draw on the knowledge gained at the workshops, and will provide not only a
fuller picture of the innovation, but should also outline in some detail what the applicant will do with the
prize, should they win it. In conjunction with the submission of the final applications, a degree of due
diligence is conducted on each applicant, to verify the information in their final applications.

6. Post-Award Legacy Activities
The SAB Foundation will amplify the impact of the Innovation Award by sharing lessons and supporting a
community of interest. Post-Prize Legacy activities include the sharing & disseminating or learnings
through a published report, the development of an Innovation Toolkit for pro-poor innovation and case
studies on winners & performance, in particular detailing the impact on the target beneficiary groups.  
• Administration: The prize money will be paid in tranches, every six months, over a 18-24 month
period (depending on the circumstances of the individual project). At each 6-monthly interval, the
winner will submit a short report on their activities over the preceding six months. Measurement of
progress and impact will be conducted by a third-party.
• Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E): Winners will report their progress on a six-monthly basis, and
progress will be carefully monitored. Even more importantly, winners who progress to
commercialisation and roll-out of their innovation need to provide information on the impact on the
SABF’s target beneficiary group. The M&E framework (with specific KPI’s) needs to be designed as
soon as the winners are selected.  
• Communication. Every effort will be made to communicate the successes of the winners of the
SABF Innovation Award. In addition, information from the M&E and the more general learnings from
the awards process will be gathered and disseminated, through workshops and roadshows.

7. Summary
The Innovation Award aims to stimulate innovations which benefit the target beneficiary groups.
This fulfils the mandate of the SAB Foundation in two ways:
1. Firstly, stimulating and rewarding innovation supports a broader entrepreneurial culture within
South Africa.  
2. Secondly, the target group of the foundation will measurably benefit as a result of the
implementation or expansion of these “pro-poor” innovations, a process which will be directly
encouraged and developed through the SABF Innovation Award.  

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