Financial boost from SAB Foundation puts Subz Pants and Pads on the fast track

Subz Pants and Pads, the KwaZulu-Natal-based organisation which sells patented reusable sanitary pads, was accepted into the SAB Foundation’s Social Innovation Fund and Accelerator programme aimed at fast-tracking social purpose businesses.

Sue Barnes, founder of Subz Pants and Pads and its non-profit extension, Project Dignity, said she was honoured to have been accepted into the SABF Social Innovation Accelerator and Fund Programme.

“This is a huge injection of knowledge and funding for Subz Pants and Pads to grow and upscale the business,” said Barnes. “I will be guided and mentored through this process, as Subz is on the brink of explosion into the market – not only in South Africa but throughout Africa. The plan is to upscale the business by focusing on empowerment development and employment. I am very excited that Subz Pants and Pads has been recognised as a business to contend with.”

This innovative programme was opened up to previous winners of the SAB Foundation’s Social Innovation Awards held annually for the past seven years. In 2015 Subz received the award which recognises organisations with workable business solutions to social problems. However, despite the mentorship that accompanies the Social Innovation Awards, the SAB Foundation realised there is very little early stage funding for social innovation companies beyond the competition.

“It’s incredibly difficult for these organisations to apply for traditional funding because there is often no compelling business case in the early stages.  However, these models are critical to support as they are finding innovative and sustainable ways of solving social problems,” explained SAB Foundation Director, Bridgit Evans. “That is why the Foundation decided to select 12 high-performing award-winners who have persisted in their commitment to social innovation despite the obstacles faced.”

Subz Pants and Pads was one of the 12 former winners chosen for the acceleration programme which will support the participants with the necessary skills and funding to allow the business to thrive. The business acceleration programme will include:

•             Constructing a social or environmental impact case;•Market access, sales and distribution;

•             Strategic planning;

•             Financial modelling and planning;

•             Writing an investment case to secure funding;

•             Pitching to investors; and

•             Connecting with partners in the business ecosystem, including multinational companies, NGOs and governments.

This strategic support will ensure the business is able to secure additional rounds of funding from other investors after the three-month programme. Financial investment from the SAB Foundation will be in the forms of grants and interest free loans ranging from between R500 000 and R2 million.

For more information on Subz Pants and Pads, visit

List of Awards

•              Rotary Community Service Award 2017 

•              Finalist for Enviropaedia Eco-Logic Award Eco-Angel 2016

•              Finalist for Elle Magazine International Social Innovation Award

•              Rotary’s Paul Harris Fellow

•              Africagrowth Institute SMME Best New Business Sector Award 2015

•              Greenovation Social Impact Award 2015

•              Finalist for Chivas Regal Venture Campaign Innovation Award 2015

•              SAB Foundation Social Innovation Award 2015

•              Margaret Hirsch Woman of the Year 2015

•              Margaret Hirsch Woman of the Month January 2015

•              Finalist for Business Woman’s Association Social Entrepreneur 2014

•              Semi-finalist for the Accenture Innovation Index Top Innovative Concept 2014

•              Clarins Most Dynamic Woman 2013/14