The Technology Innovation Agency (TIA), an entity of the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) and the SAB Foundation announced a partnership to promote social entrepreneurship development in South Africa (SA). The SAB Foundation considers social entrepreneurship as business solution to social problems.
Co-investment to grow innovation value chain
This partnership will see TIA and the SAB Foundation co-investing in a Social Innovation Fund, the Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards and a University Seed Fund. TIA will invest R5 million with another R23.6 million from the SAB Foundation. TIA invests approximately R400 million annually to support technology innovation through various funds and programmes. The co-investment with the SAB Foundation is geared to accelerate impact and leveraging private sector support in the innovation value chain.
The funds will provide a combination of grants and loans, with both technical and business development support to create jobs. These are unique ventures with the aim to address some of SA’s biggest social challenges. It is expected that so the ripple growth effect would be exponential. Following support received from SAB Foundation and TIA, businesses will be ready to take on investment capital from venture capitalists and other impact investors.
The two organisations will contribute funds towards SAB Foundation’s Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards 2022 as a fund leveraging strategy. This will create a sustainable pipeline for projects and innovations eligible for the Foundation’s Social Innovation Fund supporting innovators with technical funding and business development.
A stepping stone towards social empowerment
Since 2010, the SAB Foundation has provided support and funding for entrepreneurs and micro-enterprise owners who want to grow their businesses and achieve new levels of success. This serves as a stepping-stone for SA innovators and the social empowerment of impoverished communities.
TIA is mandated to promote the development and exploitation of discoveries, inventions and innovations to improve the quality of life for all South Africans. The organisation supports innovations by bridging the innovation chasm between research and commercialisation. Partnerships and collaborations are vital to TIA effectively fulfilling this role.
“We are very excited about this strategic partnership,” says Bridgit Evans, Director of the SAB Foundation. “Social Innovation holds so much promise for the country and we are delighted that TIA believes in what we are trying to achieve.”
“TIA’s collaboration with the SAB Foundation positions the two organisations as partners in cultivating a culture of inclusive innovation with technology start-ups at the forefront of growing the economy and thus improving the quality of life for South Africans. Partnering with the private sector and industry that have enterprise development instruments will accelerate the commercialisation of local innovations. Through the TIA SEED Fund, TIA will be able to leverage funding by collaborating with private sector partners in developing and commercialising publicly-funded IP from universities,” according to Ms Tandokazi Nquma-Moyo, Acting General Manager: Strategic Partnerships and Business Development for TIA.
The Seed Fund
The TIA – SAB Foundation’s University Seed Fund co-investment will include capacity development initiatives, joint funding, market access opportunities and commercialisation of technologies. The Fund, which will offer access to seed capital for innovative ideas, will target previously disadvantaged Higher Education Institutions and identified Universities such as those of Limpopo, Fort Hare and Zululand.
“We are looking forward to working with TIA to further support our entrepreneurs on their journey to success.” Through this partnership, we hope to give social entrepreneurship in our country the boost required to help tackle the challenges that we currently all face, “ Evans concluded.