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Cape Town Launches Innovation Challenge For Entrepreneurs To Shape The New Normal

The Re:solve Challenge invites SMEs, teams or individual entrepreneurs to co-create bold and innovative solutions with a focus on areas such as transport, hygiene, food security, education, medical care, retail and micro-enterprises. Entrants with the most viable solutions will have the opportunity to prototype their idea with a grant of up to R20,000 and also opportunities to pilot test their business ideas before launching into the market. Partnered with industry mentors, the Challenge will also expose the entrants to perspectives and networks that could help them to shape their ideas.

“Cape Town is an innovative and design-led city, and this project aims to tap into the deep well of creativity in our city in particular– the goal is to unlock new products and solutions that can help in the fight against COVID-19 as well as unearth ideas that can become new tangible products and services post-COVID. As the first African city to be designated a UNESCO City of Design within the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN), through initiatives like this Challenge we can be at the forefront of innovative solutions in a time of crisis. Through the Re:solve Challenge we are providing a platform for bright ideas from Capetonians, including a few wild card spaces reserved for other provinces,  to reach their potential,” says Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management within the City of Cape Town.

To help get the big ideas off the ground, each entrepreneur or team of entrepreneurs will be mentored and guided through a series of Product Development rounds. A multi-skilled team of business consultants, design-thinking facilitators, product developers, and creative experts will help to shape and co-create the solutions alongside the entrepreneur/teams. Facilitated by dY/dX, the Challenge’s industry sponsors also include Uber, Red & Yellow and Smollan.

“The project brings together a multi-skilled team led by the Craft and Design Institute, which has a long track record of success in unlocking the potential of local entrepreneurs and using a design-led approach to surface viable new products that can be commercialised,” adds Alderman Vos.

According to Erica Elk, Croup CEO at the CDI, the project is perfectly timed and much needed to solve some of the biggest challenges faced in South Africa today.

“We have seen the deep and devasting impact of COVID-19 on our society and it has laid bare many of the biggest issues we face as a country. South Africans have stood up bravely and resiliently to flatten the curve over the past months, but we face a stark reality of needing to rebuild our economy and to find new ways to approach many of our systemic challenges. This Re:solve Challenge is about tapping into the resolve of our people, about re-looking at old ways of doing things through a new lens, and ultimately bringing to the forefront the very best ideas through innovative products and services. There is no better place to start than with the ingenuity of South Africans.”

Programme Details

The Re:solve Challenge only accepts online entries.  Following the entry period, 15 teams or individuals will be chosen for the four-month programme. Each entrant or team will receive mentoring from senior executives within the business, product development, design-thinking, and creative industries.

With people at its heart, the Challenge will celebrate innovative ideas that showcase the four vital pillars of the project:

Community – enriching those around you

Ecology – not harming, but rather benefiting the planet

Dignity – valuing people and providing them a sense of worth

Profitability – an ability to make money

Proof of Concept opportunities will be offered by the Challenge, allowing the selected teams to prototype their business ideas and solutions with a grant of up to R20,000. Terms and conditions apply.

The Re: solve Challenge is now open for applications and will accept online entries submitted till 5 November 2020.

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