The Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), an entity of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), and the SAB Foundation have announced a partnership to promote the development of social entrepreneurship in South Africa. The SAB Foundation describes social entrepreneurship as business solutions to social problems.
The partnership will see the TIA and the SAB Foundation co-invest in a social innovation fund, the Disability Empowerment and Social Innovation Awards, and a university seed fund. TIA will invest R5 million as well as R23.6 million from the SAB Foundation. TIA invests approximately R400 million per year to support technological innovation through various funds and programs. The co-investment with the SAB Foundation aims to accelerate impact and leverage private sector support across the innovation value chain.
The funds will use a combination of grants and loans, with technical support and business development support to scale these entities and create jobs. They are unique businesses trying to tackle some of South Africa’s biggest social challenges, so the ripple effect of helping them grow is exponential. The intention is that as a result of the support received from the SAB Foundation and the TIA, companies will be ready to accept investment capital from venture capitalists and other impact investors.
Both organizations will contribute funds to the 2022 SAB Foundation Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards, as part of a fundraising strategy. This will create a sustainable pipeline of projects and innovations eligible for the Foundation’s Social Innovation Fund, which supports innovators with technical funding and business development support.
Since 2010, the SAB Foundation has been supporting and funding entrepreneurs and micro-business owners who want to grow their business and reach new levels of success. This serves as a springboard for South African innovators and the social empowerment of poor communities.
The TIA’s mandate is to promote the development and exploitation of discoveries, inventions and innovations to improve the quality of life of all South Africans. TIA supports innovations by bridging the innovation gap between research and commercialization. TIA is an active funder, connector and facilitator to bridge the innovation chasm. Partnerships and collaborations are essential for TIA to effectively fulfill this role.
“We are delighted with this strategic partnership,” said Bridgit Evans, Director of the SAB Foundation. “Social innovation holds so much promise for the country and we are thrilled that TIA believes in what we are trying to achieve”
“TIA’s collaboration with the SAB Foundation positions the two organizations as partners in cultivating a culture of inclusive innovation with tech start-ups at the forefront of economic growth and thereby improving the quality of life of the South. Africans. Partnership with the private sector and industry that have enterprise development instruments will accelerate the commercialization of local innovations. Through the TIA SEED Fund, TIA will be able to leverage funds by working with private sector partners to develop and commercialize publicly funded intellectual property from universities,” said Ms. Tandokazi Nquma-Moyo, Acting Chief Executive Officer. : Strategic partnerships and business development for TIA.
The co-investment from the TIA – SAB Foundation’s academic seed fund will include capacity development initiatives, joint funding, market access opportunities, and technology commercialization. The fund, which will provide access to seed capital for innovative ideas, will target previously disadvantaged higher education institutions. The universities identified include the universities of Limpopo, Fort Hare and Zululand.
“We look forward to working with TIA to further support our entrepreneurs on their journey to success,” concludes Evans. “Through this partnership, we hope to give social entrepreneurship in our country the boost it needs to meet the challenges we all face today.