Innovate Durban offers assistance to innovators through various channels, including digital tools, mentorship programmes, support funds and pitching opportunities.

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    Youth Innovation Challenge

    The Youth Innovation Challenge (YIC) is the Flagship Programme of Innovate Durban. It seeks to take a group of around 60-80 youth (ages 18 – 35) through the innovation pipeline centred around finding innovative solutions for challenges faced by the residents and businesses. Implementation includes upskilling workshops, coding training, pitching sessions, and group solution demonstration events.

    The Youth Innovation Challenge 2021 – Terms & Conditions

    achievements [2017-2019]

    3 Youth Innovation Challenge events held
    203 Participants
    46 Solutions developed


    1. Challenge identification and pre-training
    Identify challenges and pre-training in coding, design thinking, industry etc.

    2. Solution development
    Developing solutions to challenges by YIC participants, using the skills and knowledge gained in phase 1

    3. Solution pitching
    Delivering the pitch for a solution prototype or idea to a panel of industry and innovation judges

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    Start up support program

    The Start Up Support Programme is an accelerated mentorship programme taking innovators from conceptualisation to a market ready phase. The 12 month programme includes; providing business and technical skills to innovators, facilitating prototype funding for participants, linking innovators with angel investors.

    achievements [2017-2019]

    31 Participants
    5 market-ready products developed


    1 Ideation and Solution Development
    Lean canvas development, design thinking, market viability assessments and prototyping support

    2 Establishment
    Financial management training, intellectual property and business registration support, business plan development, pitching/investor readiness (public and private) training

    3 Commercialisation
    Pitch events and meetups with funders and minimum viable product development

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    Innovator Support Programme and Fund

    Beyond the Start Up Support Programme (a more formalised support programme offered to innovators), Innovate Durban also offers support on an ongoing basis through the Innovator Support Programme. The programme; provides ad hoc support to Innovators (meeting facilitation, innovation advice, prototyping support, intellectual property advice and support, and networking support), partner identification to support the Innovator Support Programme financially as well as prototyping and testing at reduced rates.

    achievements [2017-2019]

    47 Innovators supported
    4 Innovators funded

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    Pitching Den

    The Pitching Den is an initiative aimed at allowing innovators to pitch their business concepts to a panel of judges. Before the final pitching, innovators attend pitch training sessions run by Innovate Durban. The Pitching Den aims to highlight innovators and innovative start-ups and opportunities, create a platform and network opportunities for innovators to pitch their businesses and to link innovators/start-ups with Venture Capital and Angel Investors. Prizes are awarded as part of the initiative, and innovators are also given networking and investor meet-up opportunities through the programmes.

    achievements [2017-2019]

    3 Events
    9 Winners
    25 Participants/finalists

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    Open Exchange

    The Open Exchange, a digital tool, allows for intelligent opportunity matching for innovation stakeholders across the city. It’s a virtual open innovation platform allowing organisations to submit their organisational challenges online and for the public – either citizens or businesses – to respond with innovative solutions. This is done in a safe online space, where engagement takes place, and organisations can then commit resources (financial and non-financial) to solving the challenges.

    In the 2020/21 year, Innovate Durban will start to define the project and conduct a feasibility study to understand the costs and resources required to implement the project. If feasible, Innovate Durban will look at implementing this system in the 2021/22 year.

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Head Office:

Bond Square, 12 Browns Road,
Point Waterfront,

Durban, 4001

087 821 1023
Umkhumbane Entrepreneurial Centre,
240 Harry Gwala Road, Wiggins, 4091