Maritime Youth Innovation Challenge

Pictured here are innovators Mpumelo Tembe from Avoca Hills and Solam Dontsa from Westville who are participating in Innovate Durban’s Maritme Youth Innovation Challenge.
pic by Mandisa Buthelezi

The fourth Youth Innovation Challenge, Innovate Durban’s flagship programme, is wrapping up with 26 finalists grouped into 12 teams, presenting their final pitch and the four category winners being announced on 30 November.

The Youth Innovation Challenge with a core focus on maritime, began in May this year with 120 keen participants. The various stages of the maritime programme whittled down the participants from the initial 120 to the tenacious resilient final 26 participants. Interested innovators between the ages of 18 – 35 were invited to take part.

Nkululeko Mthembu, Project Manager said, “In 2018 we are focussing on the extensive maritime industry. The objective of Maritime Youth Innovation Challenge is to give the youth of Durban and surrounding areas an opportunity and platform to come up with practical innovative solutions to existing problems that will be implemented to eradicate issues that hinder efficiency of the Port of Durban.”

The Youth Innovation Challenge is an annual programme of Innovate Durban, held in partnership with various specialist organisations. The purpose of the challenge is to create a platform for innovation to thrive in eThekwini by empowering the citizens – particularly the youth – to become innovative in their communities and in business.”

The themes of the challenges included Infrastructure, Environment, Capacity and Transport & Logistics. The Maritime Youth Innovation Challenge was made up of a series of workshops to aid the participants to develop solutions to the challenge they had selected. The workshops were led by our partners for example Oracle offered the participants a two day workshop, Aurecon went through a design thinking workshop with the participants. On the 12th of October they pitched their final solutions to a panel of judges at UKZN unite building.

The aim of the Maritime Youth Innovation Challenge equips youth with the skills to develop integrated solutions in response to challenges being faced within the maritime and logistics sector. The Maritime Youth Innovation Challenge exposes the innovators to the problems faced in the maritime industry through learning exchanges and journeys.

The various stage winners will be included in the Aftercare Programme which consists of mentoring, prototype development, regular brain storming sessions and learning exchanges, trainings and workshops. They also have access to partner organisation programmes and funding opportunities.

The list of partners who assisted throughout the process are Adams & Adams; Oracle; Aurecon; Transnet; The Domino Foundation; Technology Innovation Agency; eThekwini Municipality; eThekwini Maritime Cluster and DUT School of Maritime and DUT Centre for Social Entrepreneurship.

Adams & Adams will offer free consultations to all of the participants and for the winner, free trade mark applications and free registered design application – if applicable. Oracle are offering a R50,000 first prize. The Domino Foundation are offering a R35,000 second prize and Aurecon 5 internships.