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In a bid to provide solutions to challenges that hinder efficiency in the Port of Durban and ensure meaningful participation of the youth in the maritime sector, Innovate Durban is inviting youth to participate in the 2018 Youth Innovation Challenge. 
The initiative, which is a partnership between the Innovate Durban, eThekwini Municipality, Aurecon South Africa, Oracle, EThekwini Maritime Cluster, Transnet, Durban University of Technology, Technology Innovation Agency and Adams & Adams, intend to capacitate the youth with innovative skills that will enable them to provide solutions facing the maritime sector.

Applications for young people between the ages of 18 to 35, who want to participate in this exciting challenge, are now open and will close on 6 July.

This year’s Maritime Youth Innovation Challenge will allow young people of eThekwini to present practical ground-breaking solutions to existing problems facing the port, using design thinking methodology and technology.

Innovate Durban’s Programme Manager Nkululeko Mthembu said this year’s programme will look at developing the maritime industry across the themes of infrastructure, transport, logistics, environment and capacity.

With the Port of Durban being the biggest facility in Africa and having contributed an annual forty percent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product, this initiative aims to provides a wider scope of maritime training and skills development in the sector and unlock opportunities available in the ocean economy.

“Once we have received applications we will invite applicants to attend workshops to interact with them before the shortlisting process. This year we are targeting 100 youth and we maintain a small number because we aim to provide quality support and we aim for the participant to see value in the programme. Also using smaller groups helps to track progress of participants,” said Mthembu.

The main and long-term vision of the programme is to uproot poverty and radically reduce unemployment and inequality, to transform the lives of the unemployed and disadvantaged people of eThekwini and to create a City that initiates and supports innovations of development and sustainable economic growth.

Innovate Durban Chief Executive Officer Aurelia Albert said since the inception of the initiative, progress of participants has been tracked to ensure success and sustainability is achieved.

“We are creating a platform for young people to create viable products, employment opportunities and also networking with business and academics. We also give youth an opportunity to contribute to the growth of the city by aligning developments to the needs of society,” she explained.

Innovate Durban is a Non-profit Company aimed at stimulating innovation within the Durban region. Its focus is to support and promote innovation by creating platforms that will build and develop the innovation ecosystem in Durban. Innovate Durban was set up by the eThekwini Municipality in 2013 in an effort to create a conducive environment for innovation.

For more information and to register for the 2018 Maritime Youth Innovation Challenge, visit

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