The Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA) has launched its second edition of the DBSA Youth Challenge, a competition aimed at harnessing innovative solutions from South Africa’s youth to help address infrastructure challenges.
The competition is calling for South Africans between the ages of 18 and 35 to submit their innovative infrastructure development ideas across various sectors for funding and implementation consideration and the ideas should align with the DBSA’s key sectors – transport, housing and human settlements, ICT, water and sanitation, energy, and education.
The winning and finalist entrants will be eligible for funding worth a total of R1.5 million for the execution of their ideas and they will be awarded a twelve-month mentorship programme to assist with executing their innovative ideas and building them into successful businesses.
The entries must be original and not entered any competition before, innovative, scalable, and feasible to implement. All entries should be in the idea stage and should not have been prototyped.
Submission will close on the 31st of July 2021 and the final winner will be announced during September 2021.
Head of Communications and Marketing at DBSA, Sebelo Matsoso, says 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.
“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 DBSA Youth Challenge was Kekeletso Tsiloane – 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.
Zuko Mandlakazi took second place with 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 plans; 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,” concluded Matsoso.