Junior Innovators Competition

Junior Innovators Competition Gives Flight to Tomorrow’s Big Ideas

junior-innovators-sa-good-newsThe Junior Innovators Competition, showcasing the entrepreneurial potential of South Africa’s best and brightest young minds, drew to a close on Thursday 6 October, at Investec in Sandton. The final leg of a demanding five-day schedule saw the announcement of the grand-prize winner of R60 000, with second prize winning R30 000 and third prize R20 000 toward their tertiary education, followed by a spectacular gala dinner celebrating the tremendous efforts of all who took part.

The Junior Innovators Competition is a joint initiative between Investec Social Investment and Junior Achievement South Africa. The competition is aimed at rewarding those learners (grades 10 and 11) who show the judges exceptional entrepreneurship potential with their big ideas and business acumen. Investec hosted 40 learners from around the country between Sunday 2 October and Friday 7 October, covering all travel, accommodation and programme expenses for the hopeful finalists.

Investec Head of CSI, Setlogane Manchidi, expands on the reasoning behind getting involved in the competition:

“We all know how important education is in driving South Africa forward, so Investec jumped on this opportunity to create an impactful and meaningful difference in the career path of those who deserve it most. Investec is 100% behind anything that can enable people to participate actively in our economy and our society. Education is definitely one of the most powerful of these tools, and we are thrilled to be involved.”

This year’s judges were on the lookout for only the best – those learners who were big thinkers and risk-takers, willing to make mistakes and learn from them. Learners were judged on their resilience, passion and confidence, as well as their industry and target market knowledge and many other characteristics needed to make it big in the entrepreneurial space.

Promising ideas from past years have included a 3-in-one stapler, paper-punch and staple-remover, to magnetic cars that may one day help to alleviate traffic accidents. Anything goes, as long as it’s original, innovative and marketable.

After days of gruelling challenges, exercises, presentations, speakers and events, it was Tasneem Cloete who finally came out on top. A grade 11 learner from Ridge Park College in Kwa-Zulu Natal wowed the judging panel with her innovative idea.

This innovative business idea by Tasneem is a pen which has four elements to it. Known as the ‘”REPP”, this product is a pen, pencil, eraser and ruler – all in one. Not only is the product lightweight, it comes in various designs in order to appeal people’s different preferences. Although the main target audiences is students, the product can also be used in an office environment. The ‘REPP’ is convenient and cost-effective as the client will avoid the risk of losing various stationary items.

With ideas like Tasneem Cloete’s taking root in the minds of South Africa’s young future business leaders, we expect great things not only from Tasneem, but from all of this year’s finalists! We can’t wait to see how the teenagers of today are going to continue helping South Africa grow and prosper into the future.