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Powering startups in Africa: What Nigerian Breweries can learn from SAB as it hunts for 2020 S.I.D.E. Award winners

For its 10th year edition, the South African Breweries, SAB, through its independent funding trust, the SAB Foundation, is set to reward a new cohort of social innovators that will emerge as winners in the 2020 Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment (SIDE) Awards.

The independent funding trust has, hence, called out for applications from interested social innovators looking to partake in the 2020 S.I.D.E. Awards, rolling out its updated criteria to guide entrants.

The foundation, which was institutionalised in 2010 as an empowerment initiative, has (till date) invested millions of rands towards improving entrepreneurship in South Africa, a promising development that has been praised by local analysts and observing foreign economists.

On the backdrop of easing the means of doing business and rewarding excellence, the SAB Foundation has focused on providing funding for small, medium and micro-sized enterprises in a bid to contribute to the economic and social empowerment of historically disadvantaged persons, a means to benefit South African communities and country residents.

Aside driving change within the economy, the SAB Foundation has been able to contribute to job and wealth creation in the country by facilitating mentorship programmes and funding for outstanding enterprises.

“We have so many incredible social innovators who, with the right support, can drive change and improve lives.

“As well as funding, we offer innovators business development and mentorship aimed at helping them maximise their impact,” said SAB Foundation Director, Bridgit Evans while commenting on the prospect of the initiative.

In 2019, twenty finalists won a total of R1.3-million in funding, where Regenize, a free and inclusive service that offers individuals rewards in form of virtual currency based on the weight of their recyclable materials emerged 1st in the Social Innovation category.

Coming home to Nigeria, there seems a lesson to learn and perhaps a model to be adopted, from this Corporate Social Responsibility as championed by the South African Breweries.

74 year old Nigerian Breweries (NB) Plc can, thus, domesticate this scheme to support the nation’s vision on development. Being the pioneer and largest brewing company in Nigeria, there is a lot of possibilities that can be achieved if a similar feat is looked into.

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This way, as a leading private sector player, development and growth can be spurred through the introduction of this initiative in the most populous black nation, Nigeria.

With a growth ambition, we must not completely leave structural reforms in the hands of seating governments. The time is now for all to begin to ask how every hand can be on deck, especially in areas to support the growth of SMEs and technology given their significant contributions to the progress of any nation.

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Ridwan Adelaja

Ridwan Adelaja is a multimedia journalist with a special interest in business news analysis

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