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Innovate Durban Celebrates a Remarkable Journey: Youth Innovation Challenge 2023 Awards Ceremony

Innovate Durban, a front-runner in fostering innovation and entrepreneurial excellence in KwaZulu-Natal, proudly announces the successful conclusion of the Youth Innovation Challenge 2023. The highlight of this year's journey was the spectacular awards ceremony held on the 3rd of November, 2023, at The Bondshed, 12 Browns Road, Point Waterfront.

This year’s YIC sponsors and partners include eThekwini Municipality as our core funding partner, Zutari, Adams & Adams, Derivco and Old Mutual. A true example of a public-private partnership.

The Youth Innovation Challenge - Nurturing Future Visionaries

The Youth Innovation Challenge (YIC) 2023 was a ground-breaking endeavor that tackled the compelling theme of "Creating Thriving Circular Economies in Durban Leveraged on Innovation & Digital Tools." Under the capable guidance of Innovate Durban, this year's challenge went beyond fostering innovation; it transformed brilliant minds from all major universities in Durban, including underserved communities. The YIC journey began with a series of workshops, mentorship sessions, and collaborative learning experiences designed to equip participants with a holistic skill set, paving the way for their futures in entrepreneurship and professional employment.

This year's edition of YIC made history as it welcomed more female participants than ever before, marking a significant step towards gender balance in the world of innovation.

[Image Insert of workshops)

Championing Key Themes and Learning

YIC 2023 shone a spotlight on the central theme of "Creating Thriving Circular Economies." Participants immersed themselves in a whirlwind of learning experiences, garnering knowledge and skills in critical areas such as:

  • Design Thinking: Participants were exposed to creative problem-solving techniques to spark innovation and ingenuity.

  • Intellectual Property (IP) Knowledge: They were empowered to safeguard their ideas through an understanding of IP rights and protections.

  • Project Management: Efficient and strategic project execution became a fundamental skill.

  • Circular Economy: This essential concept was deeply explored to encourage sustainable practices.

  • Teamwork and Collaboration: Young innovators honed their ability to work effectively as a team.

Celebrating Excellence

The YIC 2023 Awards Ceremony was an electrifying event, capturing the culmination of these journeys and celebrating their innovative ideas. The winners received a range of prestigious prizes, with a focus on recognizing not just the brightest minds but the most visionary talents:

  • 1st Place Winner: Award presented by Dr Ajiv Maharaj: Deputy of Head – Economic Development and Investment Promotion Unit, eThekwini Municipality

  • 2nd Place Winner: Award presented by Udi Pillay Senior Partner Adams & Adams

  • 3rd Place Winner: Award presented by Omaira Jajbhay Engineer at Zutari

  • 2023 Student Excellence Group Award: Award presented by Peter Edwards - CTIO and Group Head: R&D and New Venture Integration at Derivco

  • 2023 Women in Design Award (WID): Acknowledging the outstanding work of women in innovation and design. Award presented by Thabile Khuzwayo YIC WID 2022 winner

Building Partnerships, Shaping Futures

Innovate Durban would like to extend its heartfelt congratulations to the winners and participants of YIC 2023. The quality of ideas and the passion demonstrated were truly impressive. Further, some of our partners, like Zutari, are onboarding top engineering participants onto internship programs, taking the legacy of YIC into professional employment.

A Glimpse into the Future

As we celebrate the conclusion of YIC 2023, we look forward to the future. Innovate Durban calls upon new partners to join us in making a profound impact on our youth. With your support, we can multiply the impact of YIC 2024 and pave the way for young visionaries to create a brighter future for Durban.

For more information on The Innovation Festival, including partnerships or exhibitions contact:

Preston Moodley

Partnership Lead– Innovate Durban

Tel: 087 365 3131 | Email:

Social Media Handles:


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