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Bertha Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Bertha Centre


SAB Foundation Seed Fund

The SAB Foundation (SABF) has partnered with the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship to launch the SABF Seed Fund for social innovators and entrepreneurs as part of our mission to advance change-makers.

The SABF Seed Fund provides all UCT, UCT GSB and RAA students and entrepreneurs, with innovative ideas for tackling social or environmental problems in low-income communities, with access to seed capital at the business model discovery (or pre startup) phase and the startup phase. The Fund will support innovative ideas with test funding up to R10 000 and social enterprise startups with seed funding up to R50 000.

Definition and Characteristics

Pre-Startup: The student has identified a specific issue, which he/she is passionate about. The problem solution and product market fit needs validation and the business model could still be unclear. At this phase, activities typically concentrate on the development of feasibility plan, pitching deck, prototypes and early market testing. The overall goal is to develop a tested blue print for a startup.

Startup: The business model is clear, repeatable and scalable, the product development is finalized and initial marketing has taken place. At this phase, activities typically concentrate on the first commercial sales, the establishment of the organisation and a final business plan. The overall goal is to test and conduct market validation for an early stage venture.

Description and Eligibility Criteria

Test Funding

The test funding supports current students who have developed and researched an innovative idea and require cash funding for further development and pilot to refine their business model. The test funding is up to R10 000.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicants currently enrolled as a University of Cape Town, UCT Graduate School of Business (UCT GSB) student including RAA students
  • Student has developed and researched a social innovative idea
  • Requires cash funding for further development and pilot to refine business model

Startup Funding

The seed capital supports current and recent students who have made significant steps towards product development and require cash funding for market validation and enterprise sustainability. The seed funding is up to
R50 000.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicants are either recent graduates (two years) of UCT or current students who intend to graduate the following year from their UCT programmes again including RAA
  • Student has made significant steps towards product development, and can demonstrate progress made since initial seed funding (if applicable)
  • Requires cash funding for market validation and enterprise sustainability

How to apply

Click the button below and fill in the online form to apply.


The SABF Seed Fund will make two calls for proposals each year. This year the application periods are:

18 April 21 May
26 September 29 October

2016 Awardees


TechPark: TECHPARK Africa is a registered Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) based in, Durban, South Africa. Currently in its first year of operation, TECHPARK Africa serves as a bridge that connects PBOs/NPOs to technology, training, procurement needs, and NPO governance resources.

Tutor-X: TutorX aims to provide high school learners with extra lessons that are facilitated online, through video calling (Skype) and a shared virtual white board – You draw, I see on my Android device; I draw, you see.


ConnectMed is an online medical practice that has been streamlined to suit the South African context by offering low-cost, high-quality, on-demand doctor consults to patients of all income groups. ConnectMed successfully completed its first pilot in September 2015 and is preparing a commercial soft launch for May 2016.

Jonga provides a simple panic system which a person can trigger on their phone and alert the people around them.  JONGA is using their startup funding to complete their initial prototype and prepare for a pilot.

Masokko is an enterprise building a business to business e-marketplace, which will enable buyers and sellers from the continent and beyond to trade goods. The online platform is set to have a soft launch in 2016.

Philippi Music Project is a professional recording studio built in a container in Philippi Village, aiming to offer services (studio rental, mixing, mastering, promotion, communication, distribution) to musicians from the Cape Flats and create a platform of interaction between these artists and the music ecosystem of Cape Town (workshop, masterclasses, events).

Parktown: An enterprise which trains and creates employment and market access for a network of local seamstresses to assemble made-to-measure clothing based on unique customer measurements. Parktown focuses on up-skilling un or under-employed seamstresses who are only skilled in assembling one part of a garment, enabling them to operate independently.

Last Mile for BoP: Last Mile for BoP improves the distribution of affordable products and services for townships and rural areas. Their aim is to eliminate the poverty premium.

FFAB: FFAB is a hydroponic urban farming enterprise. This method of farming typically reduces the amount of land required to produce food, reduces water uses and usage of fertilizers and pesticides.

2015 Awardees

Ikasi Goes Online is a platform which allows you to find any business in and around townships - allowing users access to information about trading hours, products & location. The platform aims to put local SMEs on the map, starting with a pilot in Khayelitsha.

harnesses the aggregated buying power of low income communities in order to give them access to discounted staple food while developing micro retail enterprises (spazas) and supporting local Early Childhood Development Centres (crèches). The enterprise will do this through the use of a mobile group buying platform, which builds its success on the existing social capital linked to crèches within communities.

Nkazimulo Applied Sciences:  An enterprise that creates and sells home chemistry kits for students. Nkazimulo used their startup funding to build their first complete chemistry kits, which has materials to perform up to 42 unique experiments. They have since received funding from LifeCo Unlimited and were the Total Startupper of the Year (2016).

Sustainable Almond Farm: A feasibility study for an environmentally sustainable almond farm in South Africa. The feasibility study will also explore alternative farm ownership structures.

EA Social Innovation Centre: An East African social innovation centre that seeks to generate and promote scalable social innovations for those living in poverty in the region.  Research for the centre commenced in 2015.

Evaluation criteria

The evaluation criteria for test and start-up funding will relate to the impact potential, overall sustainability of the business model, as well as team capabilities (or “delivery potential”).

Potential for Impact

-    The idea or enterprise addresses a particular social need in an innovative manner (preference will be given to
     high-impact models)
-    Evidence that the targeted community/end-users will engage with the idea or enterprise


-    The idea or enterprise has a viable and potentially financially sustainable business model
-    Budget estimations are realistic

Team Capabilities

-    The individual or team has the relevant experience and expertise
-    The individual or team has demonstrated commitment and passion for the enterprise


For more information or inquiries, please contact, or on 021 406 1258.