Cape Town launches #YouthStart entrepreneurship challenge

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The City of Cape Town’s Social Services Directorate has launched the #YouthStart Challenge, aimed at assisting people between the ages of 18 and 35 in developing their existing businesses or startup ideas.

The competition is an accelerator programme for startup entrepreneurs and supports youth capacity development and job creation.

It offers support to the entrepreneurs in commercialising, expanding and monetising their businesses, developing both the entrepreneur and the idea through a robust training and mentorship programme.

The top 100 entries will be offered 10 weeks of after-hours mentoring and training to help them assess whether there is a place in the market for their products and services, after which 20 finalists will be selected for the play-offs.

This group will be offered further mentoring, with 10 entrepreneurs to be selected at a hackathon to participate in a ‘demo day’. In June, the top three will be announced at a gala event. Various prizes as well as business support will be on offer, including access to a network of partners that will provide the winners with business support and mentoring.

“The rationale behind the competition is quite simple. Unemployment, poverty and inequality are some of the biggest challenges in South Africa and young people in particular are bearing the brunt. Entrepreneurship has been identified as one of the ways to tackle it,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith.

“So, in the spirit of making Cape Town an opportunity city for all, we’re providing an opportunity to access resources and skills that will help young people to develop their business ideas and provide services and products to consumers, while at the same time growing the economy and aiding job creation efforts.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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