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R1.5m youth infrastructure innovation contest open for entries

Home Infrastructure Construction & Civils R1.5m youth infrastructure innovation contest open for entries

THE Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) recently announced the launch of the second edition of its Youth Challenge, a competition aimed at harnessing innovative solutions from young people in South Africa to help address infrastructure challenges.

The competition calls for young people aged between 18 and 35 to submit their innovative infrastructure development ideas across various sectors for funding and implementation consideration.  The ideas should align with the DBSA’s key sectors, which are, Transport, Housing and Human Settlements, ICT, Water and Sanitation, Energy and Education.

Winning and finalist entries will be eligible for funding worth a total of R1.5 million for the execution of their ideas. The winners and finalists will also be awarded a 12-month mentorship programme to assist with executing their innovative ideas and building them into successful businesses.

Entries must be original and not entered into any competition before, innovative, scalable and feasible to implement. All entries should be in the ideation stage and should not have been prototyped.

“The emergence of COVID-19 has shown some cracks in the infrastructure endowment of many countries, including South Africa, highlighting the urgency of the need for meaningful solutions,” said Sebolelo Matsoso, Head of Communications and Marketing at the DBSA. “The DBSA Youth Challenge is one of the many ways the Bank is inviting young people to participate and help make a difference to these challenges in their own communities.”

The winner from the first edition of the challenge was Kekeletso Tsiloane. Hers was a Housing/ Human Settlements idea centred on the manufacturing of innovative composite bricks made from recycled plastic, sand and proprietary additives that ensure that the blocks are strong, durable and fire retardant. The process does not use water, but only plastic waste, allowing for the indirect employment of waste pickers.

In second place was an ICT sector idea from Zuko Mandlakazi, which was a soundwave sensor-embedded product that assists deaf people to be more present and alert to life-saving sounds.

Third place was a tie between Lebogang Joy Leshabane with a Water and Sanitation idea for a biogas purification system that produces high grade methane from sewage treatment plants; and Francois de Beer with a solar tracking kit that can be retrofitted to any existing solar installation for the Energy sector.

“The competition is a great springboard for young people to explore and package their innovative ideas and use them to participate in the economy at scale. This is a key driver for the DBSA hence the competition has been developed to ensure ample guidance, mentorship and support for the winner and finalists,” said Matsoso.

Submissions opened on 28 April and will close on 31 July 2021. The final winner will be announced during the month of September 2021.

You can read more about the competition and submit entries at https://dbsayouthchallenge.org.

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