overview of yic

Youth play a pivotal role in driving innovation, disruption, and entrepreneurship, yet South Africa’s youth face numerous challenges, including high unemployment rates. Innovate Durban, as a catalyst for change, seeks to bridge the gap and transform communities through the Youth Innovation Challenge. Through partnering with eThekwini Municipality, Adams & Adams, Zutari and Old Mutual Tech Hub, Innovate Durban aims to create a dynamic and inclusive innovation ecosystem where youth can flourish and advance their communities. 

Now in its 7th annual iteration, the Youth Innovation Challenge brings together 80 youth participants (ages 18-35) to tackle the pressing challenges faced by the residents and businesses of Greater Durban. 


This year’s challenge will focus on harnessing the power of technology and innovation to create a sustainable and inclusive future for the city. By bringing together 80 talented young individuals aged 18 to 35, we aim to tackle pressing local challenges and forge a path towards a thriving and resilient Durban.

challenge sTATEMENT
“How can we use innovation to create thriving circular economies in Durban, aligned with Local Economic Development and SDGs?”


Gain recognition for your innovative solution and potentially win cash prizes, internship opportunities with leading companies, or a chance to be on the funded prestigious innovation support program

Your innovative ideas can drive positive change in your community and contribute to global sustainability efforts.

Sharpen your problem-solving skills and learn about circular economies and sustainable development.


  • First Prize: Cash prize of R35 000, sponsorship for trademark and filing and an opportunity to join the 12-Month Programme 
  • Second Prize: Cash Prize of R25 000, sponsorship of Trademark searches and an opportunity to join the 12-Month Programme 
  • Third Prize: Cash prize of R15 000, sponsorship of Trademark searches and an opportunity to join the 12-Month Programme 
  • 2 weeks paid, work-integrated learning experience on specialized engineering projects for 5 students from the winning groups 
  • Gift Sets 


  • Team Size: Apply as an individual or a team with a maximum 6 members, and there MUST be at least one female member in the team 
  • Age: All members must be aged between 18 -35 years old. 
  • Qualification: All members/individuals must have completed a STEM-related qualification or be in their final year of study. 
  • Location: All members/individuals must be residing in Durban. 
  • Availability: Participants must be available to attend the workshops, sessions, and the final pitch event on the specified dates. 
  • Previous Participation: Individuals or teams who have previously won or been recognized in this challenge may not be eligible to participate again. 
  • Circular Mindset & Innovation: We seek those who embrace circular economy principles—using resources efficiently, minimizing waste, and designing for reuse. Innovation-driven minds challenging norms are our ideal participants.
  • Problem-Solving & Collaboration: Effective problem solvers, adept at dissecting complex issues and forming practical solutions, are encouraged and have the ability to collaborate within diverse teams to drive impactful change. Adaptability and resilience round out the qualities we value.


Thursday, August 17, 2023
Applications Open
Criteria, T&Cs apply
Thursday, August 17, 2023
Friday, September 22, 2023
Deadline applications
Friday, September 22, 2023
03, 04, 05, 06, 09 & 23 , October 2023
Capacity Building Workshops
Knowledge transfer from technical and business industry experts on circular economies / Design Thinking & Ideation Sprints / Digital Skills Boot Camp
03, 04, 05, 06, 09 & 23 , October 2023
10 October - 23 October 2023
Prototype and Solution Development
Access to state-of-the-art Innovation Co-Lab for rapid prototyping and solution development
10 October - 23 October 2023
Monday, October 31, 2023
final Pitch
Training on the art of pitching / Solution pitching to panel of judges
Monday, October 31, 2023
03 November 2023
Award ceremony
Glitz and Glamour to celebrate your accomplishments
03 November 2023

yic 2022

Previous winners

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For more information contact us at Programmes Team : (+27) 87 365 3131

READY TO harness the power of technology and innovation

Page By Mark Mongali